My Life up to Here...

I will be 35 later this month.

That was painful to type.

Twenty years ago... uh, yup I was 15. I was passionate, I was enthusiastic, I was in shape (how I miss that part), I was clueless.

I was chained to my tiny town and I wanted out. I was 3 hours from anywhere. I was desperate to find dateable guys who didn’t know my dad intimately as their football coach, didn’t know me as my sister’s little sister, and certainly didn't know each other! I wanted to inhale an independent and grown up life that only seemed possible by heading off to college. I was going to exhale the most astonishing, remarkable new version of me. I was going to be—pausing for effect here…..

a scientist.

I didn't want to treat the common cold, I wanted to CURE it. I wanted to know why viruses were viruses and how DNA did all that DNA-ness.

(Well, that’s not nearly as sexy-exciting as it seemed all those years ago, is it?)

I did most of it (no, not the cure part). I had to keep dodging the annoying caffeine-snorting pre-med students, but after 4 years I had a degree in Molecular Biology. I had 3 years experience in a research lab. I also had a husband (and that, my friends, is a story for a ‘whole-nuther’ post). And that husband was off to law school in New York City and since we were kind of connected, I began looking for a job in the big city too. It turns out the science world is a very tight knit group, and without much effort I had two job offers (offers-not interviews) within two weeks of sending out CVs.

We sold everything. Which was the same as nothing. One ratty couch, one air-conditioned-less Toyota Corolla, and a paint-faded Corsica with a dented hood. We bought one-way tickets to NYC, and packed our bags with clothes and optimism. Those years flew by. I was busy working, busy eating a world of ethnic foods (when we could afford to), busy schlepping to the laundry, learning words like schlepping and schvitzing and becoming a pro at sleeping on the N train back home to Brooklyn. Oh yeah, and busy having baby number one. In Brooklyn. WALKED to the hospital. IN LABOR. Taxi was taking too long. Did I mention while I was in labor?

Fast forward a little here. We spent two years way out on Long Island (the first year working for a jackass and the second finally for my firstborn, testing out the new world of SAHMommy-ness). I loathed Long Island, but loved being a full-time mom. Another year, another move, this time to Northern New Jersey and baby number 2 just a few months later. I was mother to two small children, while my husband commuted to Manhattan (it was more like he lived at work and commuted home-but again, another post altogether). After 3 years, I barely knew my husband, the kids grew older, the local public schools spiraled downward, September 11th hit, and my third child was on the way… We realized that the equity in our charming 100 year old house was enough to pay off those %&*# law student loans, and suddenly we weren’t tied to his New York salary.

Living closer to family was starting to sound good, VERY good (we sorely wanted to go out on a date or away for a weekend). So we moved “home.” After nine years I had nearly navigated full circle. (Not all the way back to that same tiny town—I wasn’t willing to give up Costco after all.)

By that point I had existed equal parts in the work force and as a SAHM.

Which brings me to now. Nearing 35. Ouch, I said it again.

Enter Barbara Kingsolver and her chickens. Last summer I read—no, ingested ‘Animal, Vegetable, Miracle’. (If you like Kingsolver’s books, this one isn’t fiction but you’ll love it anyway). I loved her writing before, but now she has become my guru. Like her family in her book, I honestly want to try a little back-to-dirt living. Grow a HUGE garden, learn to process and bottle my own preserves, I’d even give a stab at raising chickens. I’ll need a little more land than my current heavily shaded bit of suburbia. And how do you learn about chickens (maybe put my research background to work)? And….

Oh jeez. Am I thinking about moving to the country? If I had chickens and my own preserves, maybe I wouldn’t need Costco. But for the next twenty years? Hard to imagine given the circle of life for the last 20.


Scribbit said...

I've always thought moving to the country and having chickens sounded appealing--but then I'm too attached to my modern city conveniences :)

Yes, my name is Arizona said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE that book. We had a house in the country with 10 acres. I absolutely love lots of space with lots of dirt to dig in. Problem was the house was a money pit...a turn of the century Victorian mouse house, if you know what I mean. So when I got pregnant with baby #1 at 34 years old we sold it and moved to the city to make some real money and have a clean place to live for a while. We're still here in the city (and just had babies 2&3), but trying to find the perfect place with 10-15 acres for a big garden, etc...

Carissa said...

10 to 15 acres! Whoa, I was thinking of 1 maybe 2 acres. And Scribbit, I would imagine those little chickens would freeze their you know whats off!

mona said...

you are hilarious! i love the sarcasm and wit! thanks for the smile and the comment on my blog!

you have a beautiful family and are very blessed.


Dani said...

Thanks so much for having your hubby share his 9/11 I was reading it, many very similar memories that my husband and I experienced that day came flooding into my mind. It had a deep effect on my husband, from what he saw that day. He never spoke much about it, and would from then on, never go visit Ground Zero with me. We are fortunate that both our husbands made it home alive that eve of 9/11. Dani

Oh my heck! I was featured. And it didn't hurt or anything!