Monday, May 19, 2008

Where I've been

I don't mean lately. I've just been a slagger about blogging lately. I've been doing other stuff with free time. Today, I have a minute or so left in my lunch hour - so here goes. Here is my attempt at an analysis of where I've been in my life and how it has impacted who I am.

I'm the third of four children, but I was the baby for 8 years. I think that was the start of my feeling 2nd best or "not special". I was never any one's favorite. I went from being the baby of the family to just another middle child. Somewhere in grammar school - I think it was around 3rd or 4th grade, I went from being one of the most popular girls to being an also ran. That was when Mary Jean joined our class. She was cuter than me, though not as smart, but cuter won out. I was always athletic, but never the most athletic. Always smart, but not always the smartest. I always knew I was not the smartest child in the family, that was my older sister, and I don't think that really bothered me, but I hated it when I would be called by her name in school. In kindergarten, I was the kid who forgot her permission slip and so couldn't be in the movie with the rest of my class. I've had a "best friend" off and on, but never consistently. Until I married A, there was never anyone in my life, for all of my life, to whom I thought I was the most important person in the world. I had a best friend from as long ago as I can remember. She lived across the street from me from birth. When we moved when I was 5 years old, her family moved too - to the same street - so our friendship continued. Her mother was mean to me, but I still liked her. Then we moved across town and she went to public high school and I went to Catholic. I had a new best friend in high school, someone I had gone to grammar school with. When we went away to college, I tried to continue the friendship by writing and calling, she did not. When my father died, she didn't even acknowledge it. I could not remain friends with her after that. I had close friends in college and have tried to keep those relationships up, but distance and their lack of trying make it hard.

So more on school. Teachers from time to time had favorites - never me - and I guess that's where I first felt the injustice of things. But I learned good things in school too. I think that my 3rd grade teacher's English lessons are the backbone of my ability to ferret out bad grammar. Note - I am a much better editor than a writer. I spent sixteen - that's 16 - years in Catholic school. So - got my fair dose of religion. I also don't recall encountering or interacting with non-Catholics until I got into the working world. Dinner conversation at my house often centered around politics - hence my love of it and my desire to work in government.

Back to school focus - in high school - as fortune would have it, I knew a lot of the "cool kids" because many of them were in honors classes. But - I wasn't cool, so I was on the periphery. Once again an athlete, but not the best and once again one of the smartest, but never the top. It was in high school that I first learned sales was not for me. I was the business manager for the yearbook, but sucked at selling ads! My love of science started coming out in high school. I took every science class that I could. I was intending to major in nursing in college, until someone said to me that they didn't think I would enjoy taking orders from people, so perhaps I should set my sights on medical school. I wonder what my life would have been like if I had stuck to the nursing plan?

In choosing a college, I had a set of criteria that was important to me and used it to narrow down my choices. The list making appears for the first time! (Note - when I absolutely have to get stuff done - I make lists.) I chose a small women's college in the end for monetary reasons. Would have I been better off in a large college? I'll never know. I started off as a bio-chem major. I did fine with it until I went home for election day. I started thinking about working in government. I switched chem classes and had a teacher who was lax about lab reports - turn the in whenever, as opposed to my first chem teacher who had a rigid schedule. All of the sudden, I'm discovering government and beginning to hate chem lab reports. (Note for the record that I loved doing the experiments in chemistry and the lab work in biology.) These things kind of combined to lead me to the work I do today. Going to a women's college was not good for the dating life, but it was good for learning to lead. Women had to lead at our school because there were no men to do it. Definitely a good experience. I also learned more about faith there - not just the outward trappings of religion, but the deep abiding faith in God and his goodness. I can't say that I haven't ever doubted that since, but that's where I recognized it for the first time. I was not an athlete in college. We played in a league so small, it might as well have been intramural. Yet, they took it all as seriously as if we were a major college with chances of winning the NCAAs. So, I decided that there were other things I would rather do with my time and I did. I discovered Irish music in college. I mean Irish pub songs really. That is a love that is still with me. All in all, college was a learning experience in so many ways.

Okay - this is really long now, so I'll stop writing. I think the other thing I want to blog about in my little self-analysis is painful moments in life that have stuck with me and happy moments. Maybe tomorrow.

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