Dame Eleanor Hull’s decades meme

All the cool kids are doing Dame Eleanor Hull’s decades meme!

Four decades ago I lived in Virginia and had a Piedmont accent.

Three decades ago I lived in the midwest and spoke like a TV broadcaster.

Two decades ago I’d moved from one coastal blue city to another for schooling reasons, and had just gotten married.

One decade ago I was living the South with a house and job and child.  I still speak like a TV broadcaster.

It’s interesting to me how much of my life is lost just looking at the 10 year marks.  A lot can happen within 10 years.  If I’d done this exercise 3 years from now the decadal snapshots would be completely different.

What’s your life like by the decades?

29 Responses to “Dame Eleanor Hull’s decades meme”

  1. Steph Says:

    30 years ago I was still a baby.

    20 years ago I was experiencing my first crush, deep in the early stages of harry potter obsession, and dealing with lots of undiagnosed anxiety.

    10 years ago I was a “preceptor” (TA) for Miser Mom’s math & writing class, and I was doing my first research project with her. And still dealing with a lot of anxiety; I was diagnosed for the first time the following semester.

    (I’ve been thinking a lot about my own history of mental health lately, which is why my anxiety is on my mind. I’ve been getting treatment off and on for about six years now, one of my biggest changes in the last decade!)

  2. Dame Eleanor Hull Says:

    Hey! Bardiac got it from me, and she even gave me credit in the first line. I’m pleased other people are picking it up . . .

  3. Silvi Says:

    Three decades ago: I was eight and lived in a fairly happy home in a country that seemed to totter on the brink of civil war. We were spared that, although much has gone both right and wrong since.

    Two decades ago: Just before my final school-leaving exams. A big deal where I come from, and the mood in the country was much more hopeful than it is at present or a decade earlier.

    One decade ago: A few months after moving to another continent to be with my partner. Still trying to get into language classes. We lived in a comfortable apartment close to the university where he worked, had no car, very little money, and biked everywhere.

    Now: The same partner; have been fluent enough in the national language to do freelance work as a translator for a number of years. We live in a house in the countryside about 7 miles from the university where we both work. Two cats. Still bike to work but not every day.

    I usually just lurk and don’t comment on the blogs I read, but have actually been thinking about this on and off since I first saw Dame Eleanor’s post. This snapshot misses so much of my life. Exactly how much only became clear when I actually wrote a few sentences on 1990, 2000, 2010 and now, and therefore I decided to post here.

    All my happy university years disappear (undergraduate and masters), including a two-year stay abroad on a scholarship and a great love (not my partner) that changed my life. My first jobs are missing, as are learning Latin and getting really fluent in German. What’s skipped over in the last decade is doing a PhD (a much more unhappy time at university), trading my fluency in German for fluency in this country’s language, deciding against having children, and giving up a tenured position in my field for what can only be described as a menial university job to solve our two-body problem. So many of the disappointments and health issues disappear from the decade-by-decade version of my life.

  4. monsterzero Says:

    Five decades ago I was an infant and my parents hadn’t yet bought the first place I remember living in. Those were happy times, as far as I know.
    Four decades ago I was in 5th grade and had a crush on the teacher’s assistant Miss Morgan.
    Three decades ago I was at UC Berkeley and had just moved into the student co-ops. I was working in the dishroom at the dorm cafeteria. I was already growing weed in our closet at this point in the school year.
    Two decades ago I was living in downtown Oakland with my soon-to-be first wife. I had to hide when her family came to visit because we were pretending we weren’t living together. I was working for a medical headhunter and checking lots of references.
    One decade ago I was living with my Sweetie in a house where her cat kept peeing on my stuff. I loved that little guy but did not love how our house smelled.

  5. Dame Eleanor Hull Says:

    One lesson I took from doing this is that incremental changes really do add up and lead to big developments over time. Another is that as you get older, change happens no matter what, and it’s hard to predict what might happen due to other people’s choices or changes. Obvious, yes, but brought home by focusing on my own life.

  6. independentclause Says:

    Haha! Three and four decades ago I also lived in Virginia and would have had a Piedmont accent, but my parents were from elsewhere.

  7. Katherine Says:

    Three decades ago I was a toddler, about the same age that older child is now.

    Two decades ago I was a seventh-grader in a small, insular school and learning just how mean middle school girls can be. Bullying by my peers combined with a lack of support and academic challenge from my teachers to make it a miserable school year for me.

    One decade ago I had just moved to the south and started a Ph.D. program. I had just met and was about to start dating the man who is now my husband. I was living by myself for the first (and only) time in my life so far, and was enjoying being an “adult” and forming my academic identity as a mathematician. It was a happy time!

  8. SP Says:

    30 years ago – Living in the midwest attending grade school
    20 years ago – Still in the midwest, now in high school!
    10 years ago – Living in Santa Monica and working as an engineer at a large company
    Today – In Northern California working as an engineer in a small research company

  9. Matthew D Healy Says:

    One decade ago I was living not far from NYC, married with condo, doing Infectious Disease Drug Discovery for a large Pharma Company

    Two decades ago I was living not far from NYC, married, in a rented apartment, doing Infectious Disease Drug Discovery for that Pharma company

    Three decades ago I was living in North Carolina, engaged to a fellow grad student at Duke, working on my dissertation

    Four decades ago I was an undergrad at Purdue

    Five decades ago I was a child living with faculty parents near the UW-Milwaukee campus

    In all those decades, I have spoken with the same Southeast Wisconsin dialect that I still speak

    Jumping by decades a few important stages are left out, such as the years when my wife and I were Postdocs at Yale and the years when I was an Electrical Engineer between undergrad and grad school.

  10. First Gen American Says:

    I wish I could figure out why in this decade I let myself get fat and injury prone. Prioritizing health Is the only goal that seems to have gone in reverse and not forward. And across the decades, I always obsessed about my Weight, even when the charts said I was “normal”, but in this decade I truly am not in a healthy range.

    Most other life goals…career, family, friends, finances, community have all Worked out as good or better than planned, even if they took decades to achieve. I’ve also stopped going out of my comfort zone and taking risks at work but much of that is for work/life balance reasons. I hope in the next decade I can shift gears and challenge myself again…just not in the corporate take over your life kind of way. More in the self employed, learn new stuff, semi retired kind of way.

    I wonder if the not challenging myself at work thing is tied to my weight gain? But I also wonder if continuing to go at the pace I was going at was sustainable. An interesting life crossroads to try to figure out.

    It’s a fun exercise.

  11. CG Says:

    Thirty years ago I was in 6th grade, having lots of frenemy angst, not very happy with myself. Things were about to get a lot better because I was about to meet my best friend. Twenty years ago I was starting my master’s degree, missing my boyfriend a lot. Things were about to get better because the next year he graduated and moved to my city. Ten years ago I was working on coming out of post-partum depression after my second child was born. Things were about to get better because I got good help and regained my equilibrium. Today…well, we are actually doing okay, but the world is not, so I hope things are about to get better for all of us.

  12. FF Says:

    Fifty years ago: starting kindergarten, living in Queens
    Forty years ago: starting 11th grade, living in a different neighborhood in Queens
    Thirty years ago: Starting grad school in CT
    Twenty years ago: Postdoc in WI
    Ten years ago: unemployed in upstate NY
    Today: sole proprietor, still in upstate NY

  13. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    30 years ago, I was trying to get my hands on every book I could at the elementary school library, and trying to avoid interacting with people at all costs.

    20 years ago (I have to keep pausing to remember how old I am today), I was in college, working a ton because I was starting down a really twisted path of filial piety and supporting my nuclear biofamily, and still absolutely certain I could figure it all out in the next five years. Hahahaha…. so toxic.

    10 years ago, I was living with PiC, on the verge of getting married and burying my mom, I’d still not figured out the issues with my family (who’s surprised?), working my fanny off as usual, and still very subject to Bag Lady Syndrome.

    My 30s really were a lot better in so many ways.

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