My Life: In 36 Sentences

Many of you know that I started this blog back in September of last year.  In January of this year, a group of individuals at WordPress (the company/technology that hosts this site and allows me [and hundreds of thousands of other people] to blog absolutely free of charge {which is amazingly cool of them, in my opinion}) started the “PostADay” challenge – which is basically an invitation for bloggers to post something on their respective spaces every single day. I had already been creating and publishing a daily post since the inception of this blog, so I didn’t feel that I needed an extra ‘push’ to continue doing so; but I loved the idea of community-building that becoming involved in a ‘challenge’ like this might afford, so I went ahead and ‘signed-up’ for the PostADay challenge.

To help keep writers motivated, the WordPress team posts a daily prompt that people can use as a source of inspiration.  I.e., if someone finds themselves staring at a blank screen, having no inkling of what to write, they can always pop over to the WordPress idea page and answer the question-of-the-day.

A few months ago one of the writing prompts offered was along the lines of “What topics do you want to see?” – i.e., a call for suggestions.  I offered a whole smattering of ideas; and today, one of them was chosen!  I feel really honored.  It was a delight to pull up the daily WordPress email, and to see my name included in it!

While I personally haven’t used any of the prompts before (as I am pretty clear on what I want the ‘mission’ of this blog to be, and therefore don’t need to have someone else direct my writing efforts), today I am going to answer the question-of-the-day – the question I submitted. (After all, it would be pretty tacky if I didn’t, right?)  🙂   So here we go:

Topic #238: Write a power sentence for every year of your life.  For each year you have been alive, write a single sentence about the most important thing that happened to you that year.

1975: I was born.  Yes, it’s an important fact; but what makes it even more meaningful is that I was born to two amazing, phenomenal parents.

1976: I learned how to walk.  I gained my first authentic sense of ‘independence’.  Talk about power.

1977: My sister was born – and my definition of ‘family’ was solidified.

1978: I learned to read – and my world BURST open wideAmazing possibilities suddenly existed, and abounded.

1979: I played with a variety of different children (nowadays society would call them ‘diverse’) – and I learned through first-hand experience that kids are just kids, that race and gender and native language and socio-economic status and all of that other stuff pretty much doesn’t matter.

1980: I attended all-day kindergarten – and I immediately fell in love with school.

1981: I won a year-long reading contest in my first grade class [I read 2,049 books over the course of the 9-month academic year]; and I saw exactly how knowledge can translate into power, prestige, and confidence.

1982: I was never taught how to complete multiplication problems (the woman in charge of running our classroom just expected us to ‘teach ourselves’), and I couldn’t figure out how to do them on my own – so I began believing that I was ‘stupid’ when it came to math.

1983: I was bused to an inner-city school, and learned what it was like to be in the minority population.

1984: I stood up to a bully, and learned that courage is really hard, and can make a person want to throw up – but it’s also pretty damn powerful.  But it’s really, really hard.

1985: I read Shakespeare for the first time ever (A Midsummer Night’s Dream); and saw that I was truly a natural when it came to understanding language.

1986: I had my first crush on a boy – and he didn’t like me back.  I began to learn that I was a fine friend, but not what boys desire in a girlfriend.  Sad.

1987: My dad ‘helped me’ with my 7th grade science fair project (i.e., he did it while I watched) – and I learned that 1) my dad is a genius [which is literally true; I just hadn’t ever seen him in his deep cognitive element before, so it was kind of a shock for me to see him in his laboratory, more-than-proficiently using all of his high-tech gear…], and 2) that I was crap at science [which added to the whole I’m-bad-at-math notion that my mind held…].

1988: My first personal experience with the death of a fellow human.  She was 102, so she lived a fantastic life; but sometimes I didn’t want to make the weekly trip to see her.  However, when I learned of her passing, I got to see how much I missed those Sunday afternoon visits.

1989: I entered high school – and quickly learned that my ‘niche’ was going to be music.  (Playing the string bass.)

1990: Geometry with Mr. Catanzarite – who saw my intelligence beneath my insecurity, and who ever-so-gently led me to the place where my true potential resided, and introduced me to my real capabilities.  (My senior year of high school, I took Calculus from Mr. Cat – and got an A.  Goodbye ‘stupid-at-math’!)  🙂

1991: My first ‘real’ job (waitressing at a lower-end chain restaurant), where I saw that some people did this work for their actual living wages, not just for ‘spending money’.  I got to see how hard life can really be, and how incredibly lucky I was.

1992: I traveled to East Germany (among other places in Europe), and saw the still-present parallel strips of dirt amid grass where tanks had patrolled the Berlin Wall.  It was unfathomable to me how people could live under such constant oppression and fear.

1993: I graduated high school and entered college – and was both nervous and excited to see what higher education would be like.  Would I be able to handle it?

1994: I spent the summer on my college campus, helping orient incoming freshman to the school.  I had never worked so hard (13, 14, 15 hour days were standard), but I had also never had so much fun.  Ever.

1995: I declared a major – and immediately knew the decision didn’t mean a whole heck of a lot.  I pretended like I had a firm idea of what future careers I might want to pursue, but really, I didn’t have a clue.

1996: Panicked that I would have zero job prospects upon graduating the following year, I enlisted in the military as an officer-candidate-in-training.  BIG mistake.  Four days after arriving in Quantico, I left.  It was one of the best decisions I ever made. (The leaving, not the enlisting.)

1997: I graduated college, and began a career at a multi-billion dollar company (at which I am still currently employed).  I landed the job through a little bit of effort and a whole lot of dumb luck; and I am so incredibly blessed to have been given the opportunity.

1998: I ran my first (and only) marathon (in Chicago).  I became aware that I’m not only a ‘smart’ person, that I’m not confined exclusively to thinking pursuits [i.e., academics, analytical work], but that I can be a little bit athletic, too.  I also realized I have a lot more personal strength in me and about me than I thought…

1999: I met the guy who would later turn into my husband; and was absolutely thrilled when he reciprocated my affections.

2000: Y2K never happened, and nothing dramatic changed with the turn of the century.  I learned that expectations are way over-rated.

2001: The guy from 1999 and I got married.  🙂  I loved that our wedding was a beautiful-yet-low-key gathering of very dear family and friends – it felt completely like ‘us’.

2002: Feeling a little adrift, a little uneasy, and a little uncertain of what I wanted to ‘really do’ in life, I started grad school.

2003: My husband and I purchased our first home, and I started to feel like I was living as a full-on ‘adult’.

2004: Honestly, this year is a total blur.  I don’t have any genuine, salient memories from this entire year.  Wow – talk about revealing…

2005: I finished grad school – and realized that my current job was much better than the alternative career that the grad school degree would afford.  I left grad school with more debt, more degrees, and a little more education – but otherwise pretty much unchanged.

2006: My husband’s best friend died.  (Colon cancer; he was 32 years old.)  This was the first death of someone really close to us (that wasn’t an aging  grandparent or other somewhat ‘expected’ death) that I had ever experienced.  Shortly after our friend’s passing, my husband and I took in his dog – and our family grew from 2 to 3.

2007: I began to get help for some personal issues I was experiencing – and life began to look hopeful once again.

2008: I transitioned from a full-time to a part-time work schedule – and I engaged in more volunteer opportunities, and explored different things that might interest me.  I started trying to figure out what I really like, what I truly enjoy.

2009: I attended a 10-day silent meditation retreat – and it truly changed my life.  (So much so that I wrote a whole blog about it.)

2010: I began a year-long yoga teacher training program – and learned so much from it.  (And I blogged about that journey, too.)

2011: I’m living a ridiculously blessed life, with amazing family and friends close to me, and am experiencing more and more moments of deep, genuine joy.  Life is beautiful.

Thank you for reading to the end.  I know this was long – but it is the journey of a life.  And actually, it’s one life that is just getting started…

Stef

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About Stef

A "serious" gal who is trying to remember to lighten up and smile.
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39 Responses to My Life: In 36 Sentences

  1. jodi says:

    what a wonderful post! such a cool challenge; i might have to give it a whirl.

    Like

  2. Christine says:

    Was it hard to remember all those things?

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    • Stef says:

      1975-1978 were admittedly hazy; all of the rest (save 2004) were very clear, salient memories. Looking back, I now see that most of them were truly defining moments in my personal outlook, life direction, etc. It’s pretty wild, actually…

      Like

  3. ElizOF says:

    Kudos to you Stef! 🙂

    Like

  4. Touch2Touch says:

    Thank you so much for the effort it has to have taken to go back year by year. Fascinating. Adds so much to the texture of “knowing” you through your blog, this additional complexification (if I can coin a word) by MEANS of your blog! (And I bet it added to your own self-knowledge too!)
    (But you’ll forgive me for opting out of the challenge; 77 years is just not going to fit into a blog post, Stef. 😉

    Like

  5. Stef says:

    Judith, you are welcome. I agree – I think a post like this one adds a depth, a richness, to the connection that the blog space can hold and share.

    As for you writing a post like this: Perhaps consider writing a sentence for every 5 years of your life? Or 10? I think you might be able to manage 7 or 8 sentences? Or even 14 or 15…? 😉

    Like

  6. rutheh says:

    What an amazing life! So cool they used your idea AND you got credit.
    It was wonderful to read and get to know you a bit better via bloglife.
    Wishing you many more power sentences!!!

    Like

  7. Katherine says:

    I married my guy from 1999 too! We got married in 2003 and have two dogs. Bought our first house in 2005. I loved this post!

    Like

  8. frizztext says:

    born 1975 – same year as one of my daughters 🙂

    Like

  9. deenie12 says:

    Stef, what a wonderful idea! I loved reading through your list, and I’m now inspired to write one of my own. It most likely won’t be something I post on my blog, but I do think it’s a great exercise in self reflection and meaning. Actually, it might even be something that I do with some of the teenagers I work with!

    Like

    • Stef says:

      Ooohhh, I think this would be a GREAT exercise to do with the teenagers! I think it’s a good activity for everyone to do – but yes, posting personal info is completely optional. I’d love to read your list, but also fully respect your desire for privacy.

      Like

  10. Lia says:

    Gorgeous, Stef, just gorgeous. Thank you for sharing this!

    Like

  11. Pauline says:

    Neat to see the things you decided to include – like Judith in Touch2Touch, (though my total years are ten less than hers), I don’t think I could pick just one sentence per year and some years wouldn’t have any! Thanks for sharing. It’s always fun to learn more about favorite bloggers.

    Like

    • Stef says:

      Pauline, some years were tough to pick just one thing – I left out a surgery, a trip to India, and other ‘biggies’… so it was interesting for me to see what “made the cut”. But it was cool for me to look back, and realize, wow! I’ve done some things with my life… 🙂

      As I suggested to Judith, she (you) could write 1 sentence for every 5 years, or even every 10… I’d read them. 🙂

      Like

  12. pix & kardz says:

    Hi Stef,
    thank you for sharing this snapshot, whirlwind suggestion, and for posting on it yourself. I haven’t gone ahead with it, but I may do so. There are just so many more years than I like to think about, and it would make for quite a long post 🙂

    But reading yours reminds me of how rich it is to be a live, and that there may be sorrows but joy comes in the morning. Was sad to read about your good-bye to your puppy – even more sad to read about the passing of his person, your husband’s best friend at such a young age. I rejoiced with you at your success in math & was proud of you when you ran the marathon. I smiled and had to remember my own provisions that were stockpiled as Y2K approached – including lots of cat food just in case…. and the assurance I felt long before midnight on New Year’s Eve as I watched country after country effortlessly ushering in New Year’s and a whole new millenium on television. And as I read and kept reading all the way to the end, it brought to mind triumphs and sorrows in my own life, and I am filled with gratitude once again to be in the time and place that finds me right now.

    Well, I should stop monopolizing your blog and end this note. Thanks again.
    Chris

    Like

    • Stef says:

      Chris, oh wow – thank you so much for this *incredibly* thoughtful comment. It is amazing what comes to us in our lives; and beautiful that so many of them result in feelings of awe, wonder, and gratitude. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Truly.

      Like

  13. Wow, over 2,000 books in 9 months! You were definitely a reader as a child……so was I! 🙂
    I don’t think I ever read that many in 9 months, though, but I definitely always loved to read.
    I enjoyed reading all 36 of your power sentences. This was a good prompt idea!

    Like

    • Stef says:

      Sharon, now keep in mind, I was in first grade – so I didn’t read 2000+ novels, but instead 2000+ children’s books. Think Dr. Seuss. not William Shakespeare. 😉

      Thank you for reading through this long post; I appreciate it!

      Do you think you might do a similar one?

      Like

      • LOL, I figured they WERE children’s books, but that’s still a lot! 🙂
        Why did I just KNOW you were going to ask me that question?
        I’m thinking about doing one sometime…..I’ll have to sit down and try to get my memory working! 🙂

        Like

      • Stef says:

        Sharon, if you do decide to do it, let me know – I’d love to read it. 🙂

        Like

  14. You have lead a truly fascinating and beautiful life. May the rest of journey be filled with more of the same joys. 🙂

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  15. N. Barnes says:

    Excellant idea as it creates a time line of what matters from the individual perspective of each writer who accepts the challenge. Congrats on being chosen! I enjoyed reading your power sentences.

    Like

    • Stef says:

      Thanks Nancy! I also like that it ‘forces’ each writer to pick the “most important” events – and I think it would be fun if different individuals did it all for the same person (say, my parents and sister doing the same activity for my life) to compare-and-contrast the different points of view…

      Like

  16. carlaat says:

    Beautiful post, Stef! I enjoyed traveling through your life, a sentence at a time.

    I’ve done something similar with old friends who’ve been out of touch for a while – we went around the small group, year by year for the times we weren’t in touch, and shared the big highlight from that year. It’s a lovely way to catch up and celebrate births, weddings, exciting new jobs, etc. while supporting each other through memories of loss and grief.

    Thank you for sharing your important moments! 🙂

    Like

    • Stef says:

      Carla, that’s a wonderful idea. I like that the exercise was (relatively) brief, yet conveyed quite a bit – and brought up a lot of memories for me.

      Are you considering doing this on your blog? I’d love to read it. 🙂

      Like

  17. suitablefish says:

    I love this idea and enjoyed reading your life in single sentences. You’ve inspired me to write one of my own.
    Here’s a link to a writing prompt post on my blog that’s similar : http://tostir.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/how-else-does-life-make-sense/

    Like

    • Stef says:

      I love the line on your blog about an autobiography not needing to take 300 pages. I doubt many people would find THAT many details of my life interesting. 😉

      When you have your post created, I’d definitely be interested in reading it. I’m loving what I’m finding out about my fellow bloggers; our connections feel even deeper (to me) as a result of knowing them as ‘people’ instead of just words on a screen…

      Like

  18. Judith says:

    What a great idea and a fantastic post. I would have to do mine in two parts at least, as I am twice your age. I have touched on various years in the six months or so that I have been blogging but I think that I need a clear space to do as you have done.
    I am delighted that you are in a good place now with great friends and support from your husband.
    BTW I found you through Sharon. Keep up the good work. I shall be back to read more. 🙂

    Like

    • Stef says:

      Judith, thank you so much for stopping by, and for commenting! (And Sharon, thank you for facilitating the ‘introduction’.) 🙂 I’m definitely in favor of people doing this over several posts – or doing a single sentence for every 2, 3, 5, 10 years…. I think the reflection is just as valuable as the creation. When you do have your posts(s) created, I’d be interested in reading them…

      Like

  19. Firstly, congratulations on one year of blogging. You inspired me & entertained me over the past 9 months that I’ve been following you. Thank you. 🙂

    Secondly, it was great to find out more about you & you life. Touching & honest.

    Thirdly, what happened in 2004? Was that the year you went on tour with the rolling stones? 😉

    Like

    • Stef says:

      Jonathan, thank you for your comments! I appreciate them, as always.

      Re. #1: I’m almost at one full year of blogging. I’m not there quite yet. 😉 But I love that you and I have been able to share the past 9 months together; you have very much done the same for me as well.

      For #2: Thank you. 🙂

      For #3: Ha, I wish! That would have been a lot more fun. 😉 See 2007. 2004 was when they began to progress. I was kind of ‘lost’…

      Like

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