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Mpls, MN, United States

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008


As he was driving me home a few weeks ago, I mentioned to The Date (who shall remain so-named until replaced by a successor [for which the girls in the office have in mind a certain young Greek engineering PhD student]), that I had been sort of a graphic designer in a former life. He laughed and asked how many lives I'd had. I think at the time I responded, "Too many to count!" However, I'm not sure that's quite true. There have been a few, but not all that many.

Were I to count them, I think they'd go a-something like this:

1. Child. (Fontana, CA; Bangkok, Thailand; Pacific Beach, WA; Carville, LA; Hillsboro, OR)
2. Pre-teen. (Auburn, WA; Boden, Sweden; Madeira, Portugal)
3. High schooler. (Auburn, WA)
4. College freshman. (Walla Walla, WA. And, yes, this single year definitely counts as a lifetime.)
5. College student. (Lincoln, NE)
6. Girls' dean. (Spangle, WA. One year between sophomore and junior years of college.)
7. Student abroad. (Florence, Italy; around Europe)
8. College graduate; employee, small non-profit. (Lincoln, NE)
9. Master's student. (Bowling Green, OH)
10. Doctoral student. (Minneapolis, MN)

These vary in length from six months to twelve years, and are not precisely chronological. Although I took a year out of college to dean, the years on either side of it are much more similar to each other than the year I deaned, but dissimilar enough from my first year of college (and year and a half as a working college grad) that each has its own number here.

As the presence of parenthetical locations may suggest, these lifetimes are largely divided by my geographical location. In fact, I counted only my childhood as a single lifetime enacted over multiple locations; in every other case a change in location has corresponded with a change in lifetime (though I counted Lincoln as the site of two lifetimes).

I'm not completely satisfied with this breakdown; I'm not sure "pre-teen" should deserve being called its own lifetime (though I just added the Sweden and Madeira labels, which help--and represent my first solo international travel), and I wonder about the summer between my two graduate programs, when I lived in California and worked the Information Services Help Desk at the hospital.

Other people might map their lives not by location, but by relationship; career; vehicle; house/roommate; physical characteristics like weight, hair length or color; musical obsessions or other addictions; political or religious views; community involvement; etc.

What about you? What are your lifetimes?


Ern said...

I love this idea, and might borrow it. :)

If I counted haircolor as a lifetime, my list would be looooooong!

(WTF is up with these new word verifications? Mine is fatcomm.)

strovska said...

oh, that's an interesting idea. i definitely subscribe to it, although i hadn't formulated it until now.

greek engineering ph.d. student!

multight! (they are weird. they remind me, again, of spam subject lines.)

Curly Sue said...

I also like this idea, though I'd have to think about how I'd want to organize lifetimes. I'll be considering this as a potential borrowing as well.


Ashley said...

Ooo, I'd like to borrow this idea too. Maybe this is a good way for me to EVER get back to writing on our blog again.

Until then... I met you in your Lincolnland phase in Pottery class. Fun! :)

Now I'm working with students who want to study abroad as you did. (I mostly meant through ACA, like you did but I'd also like to think that you traveled and blended in and soaked up new cultures and traditions and just did an all around good job of it. I hope the students I'm sending out do it that way too.)


CëRïSë said...

Definitely borrow away; I'd love to see all of your lifetimes!

Ashley, I remember that class with fondness. And tell your study-abroad students to try to avoid Americans at mealtimes, if possible; I think that helped me. =)

Oh, and I too have been noticing the word verifications lately; they had stopped sounding remotely word-like for a long time, and now they do again!

I Hope So said...

add me to the list of borrowers. no clue how i'll do it. but i'm thinking.