Thursday, May 02, 2013


I am preparing for a conference next week, and one of the things I have to do is create a "life-line"--a timeline of my life, divided up in whatever way I wish...presumably divided by major events, turning points, or other demarcations that indicate a season of life.

I'm debating the best way to do that...

*do I want to mark my life by the places I've lived?
   0-8 Hubbard
   8-10 the farm
   10-13 Seattle
   13-17 Yakima
   17-21 Chicago
   21-24 Decatur
   25-26 Cairo
   26-32 Crystal Lake

The divisions make sense, because I think I am influenced by the place where I am. There's something about my environment that matters to how I experience the world and go through life.

*Maybe I should divide by the things I've done at various times....
   0-9 read, run from sheep, gymnastics
   10-21 play the clarinet
   19-32 church church and more church

It's a less clean demarcation, but it could work.

*I suspect some people use their school/work life as the defining experiences...
   0-17 school
   17-21 college
   21-25 seminary
   25-26 missionary
   26-32 pastor

That would be a more interesting division if I had space to think about the overlaps (volunteering on Iona, changing academic foci, etc).

*I could have a really disturbing lifeline centered around boys. (because you know I define myself by my boyfriends, obv.) (that was sarcasm.)
   0-19 none because dating wasn't allowed
   19-20 P.P.
   20-21 T.S.
   21 B.M.
   22 M.H.
   23-26 J.C.
   30 G.F.

Maybe not.

*I could arrange my lifeline on my travel experiences...
6: disneyland!
14: Washington DC
16: Interlochen, MI
17: Hawaii
18: Belgium
19-20: Scotland
22: cross-country road trip extravaganza
23: Jamaica
24: Middle East Travel Seminar
25-6: Egypt, Palestine, Italy
29, 30, 31, 32: Caribbean/Bahamas
31: Scotland
32: ???

*Maybe by pets...
   Tang and Rusty
   Doris and Spot the goldfishes

probably not the most meaningful division ever.

*So...yeah. I really don't know. I think I'm being blocked by the fact that at this time of year, my life timeline has only two sections.
   0-25: mom
   25-forever: no mom.

That before/after split is so noticeable in May, when every email subject line is about gifts for mom, every church discussion is about how to (or NOT, hopefully) address mother's day in worship, every advertisement my eyes fall on is mom-focused.

Pretty sure that's not the kind of timeline they're hoping I show up I'll probably go with the places I've lived. Seems safer.

now to find a catchphrase, song, movie, or book to thematically describe each segment...


  1. Self-assessment projects like that are always so intimidating at first to me, then I really get into them and love it in the end. I hope you find the inspiration you need to finish out the plan!!

  2. Just to comment that I get the life timeline related to your mom. For me it's June (including father's day, which is less pervasive than moms and May, but still)...
    Mine looks like this:
    0-9: dad
    9-forever: no dad

  3. For what it's worth, I'd go with the "places I've lived" timeline. That's how I always break things down. Very clear delineations. Even though I would LOVE to read the M.H. entry...

  4. So, for a similar exercise (maybe the same conference)... I ended up doing my timeline around major deaths. Seriously. I was grieving a lot of things at that point - not the deaths of particular people, but still grief - and one of the things I needed to address was the way old grief was seeping into other things. It was different than all the other ways I'd done the 'here's my spiritual autobio" thing, and really helped me see connections between transition and grief in my life in a new way.

    But I instantly liked my small group... I had a safer version too :)