2012 Work three jobs and an internship. Get engaged. Then work four jobs and an internship. Then graduate. The just work two jobs while you look for another job. Get a library job. Work one job. Take one giant deep breath.
2011 Two terrible airplane flights – see: Curse of 1996.
On a brighter note, I finally train myself to drink plain coffee instead of mochas/frappuccinos/caramel macchiatos, etc. I celebrate all the money I am saving by adding a second cup to my daily caffeine requirements.
2010 Grad school does not eat me alive, but I do not do much else of interest.
2009 Stress about getting into grad school. Stress about picking a grad school. Stress about moving across the country. Stress about finding a job across the country. Stress about boyfriend getting a job across the country.
Eventually, move across the country. Survive.
2008 Decide that working full time and eventually moving out of my parents’ basement is probably advisable. Apply to grad school.
2007 Finish college and move home. Despite what my parents tell you, I am only unemployed from May to July. That’s only three months, parents! THREE MONTHS!
2006 As part of my requirements for the Honors Program, I write a quite terrible novel over the summer. It goes on to win an award in 2007… but it was competing with complex science research, not other novels.
2005 I take my first college level creative writing course, buy my first car, and join an a cappella group.
2004 Journalism gives me anxiety, so I switch to English.
2003 It’s a big year: Long distance relationship. College scholarship. 18th birthday. Navel piercing. Graduation: valedictory address. Summer job. Break up. Move to college. Take a library class. Meet The Boy. Learn to be an adult.
2002 My friends and I have cars and an open lunch period. On Mondays, we eat chicken nuggets at Wendy’s. On Tuesdays, we eat gorditas at Taco Bell. On Wednesdays, we eat pizza at Sbarro’s. On Thursdays, we eat candy, chips, and sodas from the gas station down the street. On Fridays, we eat Whopper Jrs. and fries with ranch dressing at Burger King.
I somehow do not gain 700 pounds.
2001 My first car is an Oldsmobile. It belonged to my great grandmother and its birth predates this timeline.
I also accept a role as a huge, felt-headdress wearing Flower in a community theater performance of The Wizard of Oz. Somehow this gets me a boyfriend – I don’t know what this says about me or my taste in men.
2000 I have a short solo in my choir’s performance of Cyndi Lauper’s classic, “True Colors,” and get my first job shelving books at the library.
1999 I make some of those “new girl at school friends” and then somewhat unceremoniously ditch some of them. The romantic life I always longed for finally arrives – I have my first boyfriend, attend my first formal dance, and have my first kiss this year. However, nothing is as glamorous or painless as I fantasized about for years: I get dumped, unceremoniously, and the boys are not nearly as smart or tall as I hoped for.
1998 My father’s company is bought by another company, so my parents take the cue to get the heck back to their Midwestern roots. The summer before 8th grade, we move to Michigan. We all obtain library cards right away – even before our furniture arrives.
1997 My best friend moves to Boston, and I am left somewhat adrift. At school, I learn comma rules, serve as chairperson of the student store committee in student government, and get Bs in math and gym. Once, I wear a blue crushed velvet minidress with a mock turtle neck. It about as gorgeous as you are imagining, especially considering the Bangs that are still A Problem.
1996 I walk to and from middle school every day with my best friend, and we regularly take a shortcut through an Indian graveyard. I probably contract some sort of curse.
1995 We go to Disney World over Winter vacation. In school, I dissect a squid, my teachers fry it up, and I eat calamari for the first time. I write a ten page story about a girl who rides a horse. Sister #3 is born. I play the clarinet in band.
Also, my bangs are a problem.
1994 I get an “Incomplete” on 95% of my assignments because I can’t keep my shit together. My math teacher doesn’t like me much, and strangely enough, I don’t understand early trigonometry concepts and don’t do very well. Every day after math class, I get a headache. I begin to fail science because every day I am in the nurse’s office getting Tylenol instead of learning about cloud formations. My parents discuss pulling me from the Gifted and Talented program and I weep.
I fail to see the significance of any of this until I am an adult. For years afterwards, I assert that fourth grade was most certainly my favorite year.
1993 Because I have already read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I am stuck reading a book about a unicorn. I realize at a young age what a terrible deal this is, but little did I know I would spend the next twenty years trying to remember what the HECK that book’s title was, unable to remember anything other than its setting (Arizona) and its associated vocabulary words (Southwestern US geographical features like “butte” and “mesa” and “pleateau”).
Also, Sister #2 is born. I visit her 5 hours after her birth. When we get there, the room is dark, she is mostly naked and laying under a warming light and looking quite pink.
1992 Move from a condo to a house. Get my own room and pick out green paint for the walls. Alphabetize my books. Make friends with the girl next door and rarely play indoors.
1990 Kindergarten. I entertain myself during class by helping my classmates read things. We celebrate 100 days of school and learn a song for every letter of the alphabet. J is for Jalopey.
1989 I watch The Wizard of Oz a few hundred times.
1988 My sister is born. Her name is not Nathan Susie. I am extremely concerned with my mother’s prompt return from the hospital but not particularly worried about the other small human living in the hospital room.
1987 I suggest that my yet-to-be-born sister be named after my favorite baby doll: Nathan Susie.
1986 I learn to walk, talk, etc.
1985 I am born in the Hunterdon Regional Medical Center in Flemington, New Jersey. Shortly thereafter, I fall asleep and cannot be roused for a few days. Given the information I have about myself now, I suspect I needed to decompress.