Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A questionnaire for grownups.

Most of the "memes" (question lists) I see on Livejournal and other blogs strike me as written for teenagers. Not really surprising, as I understand the age breakdown for U.S. users of Livejournal shows most users are closer to the age of my younger son than to mine.

So here are some questions (and my answers) that give interesting insights into the life of a person my age, instead of a high school senior.

1. Did you mostly grow up where you live now, or did you move there?

I did mostly grow up here, for values of here that include the Greater Portland Metro Area. Although I moved around a lot in childhood (until I started high school), most of the time it was a pattern of move away (sometimes a few states away, like Ohio or Colorado) for a season or a year, then return to somewhere in Portland for a while, then move away again.

2. If you moved there, why? If you didn't move away from where you grew up, why?

I moved around plenty as a child, but I chose to stay in Portland because I like so many things about it, and because I have a deep emotional attachment to it. I especially like the weather and the geography. Portland has a lot of bigger-town amenities that are important to me, like an opera company and lots of good bookstores, many small neighborhoods with interesting and varied shopping and housing, a safe and vibrant downtown, and great parks. It's also small enough to drive across in under an hour--none of my friends live more than 45 minutes (about 40 miles) away, and that one is in a rural area in the mountains. That's another great thing about Portland: you can be in farmland less than 30 miles from downtown, and truly rural or practically undeveloped land (such as state forests) just a bit past that.

3. Are you making your living the way you thought you would, when you were in high school? If not, why not?

Oh heck no, I thought I'd be the CEO of a major corporation by the time I was 30. Turns out I wouldn't like the work, couldn't finish college (bored), and hate making decisions for other people.

I like my job: I like most of the tasks I perform on a daily basis, I like the subject matter, and I like the balance of independence, responsibility, and teamwork that I have. Plus I work with and for intelligent, fun people. I get paid enough for a comfortable life.

4. What about hobbies: have you discovered a new hobby that stirs your creativity in the last few years, or are you still passionate about something you've been doing since you were a kid?

Both, really: I started knitting 3 or 4 years ago and love it, I draw occasionally, and I'm still passionate about reading. Although I'm not sure I'd count reading as a hobby; it's a pastime, but I think of hobbies as more active than reading is. Fandom counts as a hobby, but I'm not passionate about it and don't put much time into it.

5. Do you sleep well and enough?

Mostly yes; I wake during the night more often than I did 10 or 15 years ago, but I almost always go right back to sleep, and my doctor informs me this is normal for people my age (to wake more often).

6. How do you passively entertain yourself: television, radio, podcasts, something else?

I watch tv every day, usually something I've recorded on the TiVO -- it's amazing how much more I enjoy a show when I can pause it or fast forward or switch to something else at will. I rarely listen to the radio, almost entirely when I'm driving somewhere by myself. I do listen to music quite a bit, most often satellite radio on our tv or a subscription program on the computer.

7. Are you planning your retirement? If so, what are you planning?

No, I'm busy living right now. Minimally, I plan to retire around age 70, although if I can keep working (and need to for the money) I will be happy to do so.

8. Do you think about aging and death much?

I do, but not in a morbid way. I think about losing the independence and self-reliance that I worked so hard to gain as a teen, and I wonder whether that will be as frustrating as I imagine it to be. I think about who will be left if I die, and what I can do to make that easier for them (like cleaning out the house as much as possible of the detritus of my life, and having life insurance to pay the mortgage).

9. What do you want to be next? Have you been the person you wanted to be?

I don't know what next, that's part of why I chose the word discover for this year. I've been lots of people, including most of what I wanted: a mother, a wife, a lover, a friend, a student, a teacher, an artist; someone who celebrates pleasure and who finds enjoyment in homemaking as well as friends. My adult life so far has been joyful and full of awe; it's really a luxury that I appreciate to wonder about what to do next.

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