Developmental Timeline

Timeline created by bodenbam
  • Prenatal Development

    Conception: My mother and father had 5 children, all one year apart, with the last being 5 years old when they conceived me. I was definitely not planned! Rumor has it they were actually talking divorce at the time, and my conception was met with some depression for my mom.
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    Prenatal Development through Birth

    Life was stressful for my parents and I was not invited to the party, however, I crashed it anyway!
  • Birth

    I was my mother's 6th child and all her previous births went well and her children were born healthy. I don't know the cause, but she developed a very high fever after giving birth to me, and though I was healthy at 7+ lbs., she and I were in the hospital for two weeks following my birth.
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    The First Two Years

    With 5 older siblings, my biosocial, cognitive and psychosocial development had a lot of support.
  • Biosocial Event

    My mom had tried to breastfeed when I was first born but perhaps due to her severe illness she was unable to do so. It may have had one very positive consequence, however, which is that I was then bottle-fed by my five siblings on many occasions, which they found fun and of course I probably enjoyed too!
  • Psychosocial Event

    Even though I was a shy kid when I was very young, especially around adults, I was always surrounded by other kids, and my siblings challenged me in many ways, always bringing me with them to places and generally including me in their activities. I developed strong, close ties with my mother and my siblings, but as divorce loomed my relationship with my father did not develop well at all. I started daycare at just about 2 years old, when my mom went back to work.
  • Biosocial Event

    I developed two differenty types of measles and was one sick kid for a while there.
  • Cognitive Event

    My mom recently told a story that spoke to my object permanence development: she started going to work just as I was turning two, and we had a babysitter. Every day as she left I would cling to her and cry my eyes out. Eventually, as school started, our routine changed and my siblings would drop me off at the neighbor's house on their way to school. My mom said I would leave joyfully, probably not realizing she was not permanently as I left her but actually went off to work just after we left.
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    The Play Years

    The years from 2 to 6 were very eventful in my life. My parents got divorced, my mom met my stepdad-to-be when I was 4; they got married when I was 6 years old and we moved to another city, I definitely was an apprentice learner to my older siblings, and certain of them did a lot of mentoring with me.
  • Psychosocial Event

    My parents got divorced when I was 2 1/2, and my siblings began to have a lot more oversight of me since my mom had to go back to work. I had lots of friends in my neighborhood, including 2 boys who lived next door, my best friend across the street, and another girl 2 doors down. I hear the 5 of us played together all the time, and I recall basically running around the neighborhood as much as I wanted. It was so full of kids and moms tended to be home in those days, so there wasn't much fear.
  • Cognitive Event

    I had two imaginary playmates from the time I was about 3 to probably about 6, named Cheryl and Dennis. I used to play with them or talk to them as I went about my day. I remember how I "saw" them, they were like the size of dolls, maybe 6 inches high, and they followed me around all the time. However, they were "older" than me, especially Cheryl. I have since learned that Cheryl and Dennis lived behind us and Cheryl babysat for us one summer. I don't recall her as a real person at all!
  • Biosocial Event

    I was a very coordinated kid, and learned to swim by age 3, ride a bike by age 4, and generally tried to do all the things my older siblings did. I didn't get spanked, unlike my older siblings when they were growing up, because my dad was the spanker and my mom never touched us, so when he left I got the benefit of being the only kid in my familiy who never got any corporal punishment.
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    The School Years

    After moving to a new town and new school at age 6 when my mom remarried, I entered a phase when I was best friends with several kids who all hung out together, and we were the "popular" group at school. That all changed when I got to junior high!
  • Psychosocial Event

    My mom married my stepdad on this day in 1974, and I inherited 4 new siblings, 2 boys and 2 girls. I grew up with them, and don't recall life without them. I was 9 months younger than the youngest stepbrother, and we were great friends. Our familes definitely blended well, and we're still close today.
  • Cognitive Event

    I first remember reading a book cover to cover at 7, and I loved to read anything I could get my hands on throughout childhood. I spent hours reading books every week, and started to love to write as well. I became known to my friends for using "big words" and they would tease me that I probably read the dictionary for fun.
  • Biosocial Event

    Even though I played T-ball when I was 6 and 7 with other kids my age, including my stepbrother and other boys, my identity as an athlete really was born the summer I started playing softball with all my friends, and my sister was the coach. I was the pitcher and third baseman, and I loved playing sports ever after. I played on softball teams until I was 21.
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    Adolescence

    The years from 12 to 19 were pretty tumultuous for me. I was a strong willed and very independent young person, and I made my own decisions regarding how I wanted to live my life and pursue my goals. I was allowed this freedom, and though I made some pretty poor decisions in terms of boys, alcohol, and partying, I also managed to meet my goal of getting to college on a scholarship.
  • Biosocial Events

    I entered Jr. High at 12, started on my first school sports teams: volleyball and softball. Also went on my first diet: I experimented with not eating during the day at school, and though I only did it for 3 months, it was taste enough of the mentality of anorexia. I dieted a lot over the years, but never revisited that type of approach. It was very related to low self-esteem, which was a huge problem for me at 12.
  • Cognitive Event

    During Jr. High I was put into the Honors track at school. It had a negative impact on the social status I enjoyed in elementary school where I was "popular" and I was definitely not popular in Jr. High! However it had a positive impact on my intellectual growth: having seen 6 out of the 7 older siblings who had graduated high school NOT go to college, I made the decision at 13 that I was going to college no matter what, and I had better get good grades so I could get a scholarship.
  • Biosocial Events

    I started menstruating on this date, I was 13 1/2 years old. That was the same year I also started wearing makeup and dressing in more fashionable clothes. It was the year I became a real teenager, and I looked much like I look as an adult.
  • Psychosocial Event

    I had been a very shy younger child, especially around adults. But in Jr. HIgh something shifted in me, I became very outspoken and actually am more of an extrovert than an introvert. This was part of an identity I built starting at 13 or so, that no one was going to dictate to me how to act or be. I think it was in reaction to the feeling of being controlled by a particular friend when I was in 7th grade, she was popular and I was not, and she took advantage of that power.
  • Cognitive Event

    High School was an interesting time of learning and making decisions. I had my very firm goal of going to college, so I always made sure to get mostly A's in school. However, at the same time, I was a very adventurous teenager, started drinking and partying, going to college parties and to Canada when I was only 16. I was a big partier who also got good grades. I stayed under the radar that way, and though I was pretty wild when I look back on it, no adults really had any idea what I was up to.
  • Psychosocial Event

    By the time I graduated High School I had met my goal of getting a scholarship to college. I was very confident in my own decision making and intellect, but looking back on it I was a pretty poor decision maker in many ways: I had my first sexual experience at 16 and it was quite traumatic. I had several friends who were into partying (the "burnout crowd,") but I also had friends who were "smart/nerds" from Honors classes and friends who were "jocks" from sports I played.
  • Biosocial Event

    College was a fairly healthy period for me, physically. I did a lot of exercise, became vegetarian, and though I did engage in sexual activity it was infrequent and less casual than before. I did drink, but less irresponsibly than I did in High School. I was very serious about school, and I never let partying interfere with it. I almost never skipped a class: I was paying for my own room and board, the terms of my scholarship were very strict, and I didn't want to jeapordize my opportunities.
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    Young Adult Years

    The years from 20 to 35 were very adventurous, especially because I was someone who intended to experience as much as possible as fully as possible. I experienced tragedy and also fulfillment, made commitments, kept myself going during very difficult transitions, and eventually became a pretty stable adult, albeit rather late in life.
  • Cognitive Event

    I studied abroad in England my junior year. On December 21, 1988, 35 of my classmates were killed on Pan Am 103, over Locherbie, Scotland, by a bomb. One was a guy I had been dating, another my roommate from sophomore year. I think the effect of that experience reverberated for over a decade in my life, developmentally. I remember losing the feeling of safety and wonder I had previously had. Suddenly a strong sense of meaninglessness entered my worldview, and I struggled with feelings of despair
  • Psychosocial Event

    After college, I became pretty much a hippie for a while. I traveled through Europe, tried a lot of drugs, stopped wearing makeup or worrying about what I was going to "be." I made a lot of really interesting friends, moved to Chicago and worked at a newspaper, lived in a very strong art/music subculture for the next 5 years.
  • Psychosocial Event

    On this day in 1994, an old friend came to visit me in Chicago. I had known him since 1990 but hadn't seen him. He had become a very devout Buddhist, and he taught me meditation for the 4 days he was visiting. I was hooked. I decided to take the five Buddhist precepts, which includes completely refraining from all intoxicants. I have not had a drink or any other intoxicant since that time. I became close to this friend, and eventually we moved in together and "cohabited" for 2 years.
  • Cognitive Event

    This is the day I left my boyfriend, family, friends, gave away all my possessions and became a novice nun in the Buddhist Theravada tradition. I lived as a novice nun for 2 1/2 years, and since that time have been a devout practicing Buddhist. I had to leave the monastery in 1999, due to my own difficulty in adjusting to the life of a renunciant, however, I have continued to practice with the teachers I met there.
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    Adult Years

    The theme of these years seems to be balance. I am working on how to make my life a balance between work, social life, and especially spiritual goals I have always wanted to pursue. I like the idea of going back to school to become a Physician Assistant, however, I dread having to be a working stiff for the next 25 years as well. I eagerly await the outcomes of my decisions.
  • Cognitive Event

    I began working in hospice as a nurse's aide after returning from the monastery in 1999. I decided to return to school and get a Master's in Hospice Education in 2003, and in doing so developed the foundation for a career in healthcare. I feel that after 11 years in the field of hospice, I am quite confident of my "expertise," and yet, I love to learn and want to expand my knowledge even further.
  • Cognitive Event

    It's interesting to contemplate the issue of Intellect and Learning as I age. I have recently returned to school and am taking science classes in subjects I haven't touched in 28 years, since High School. I'm finding that though it is very difficult material, my mind is so much more relaxed, steady, concentrated, and malleable than when I was young, that I am a much better student than ever before. I enjoy learning and can see how to apply what I learn to the world I live in.
  • Biosocial Event

    The physical changes I have seen in my appearance during my adult years have been pretty drastic. I feel I have aged a lot in the last 3 years especially, since turning 40. I feel most responsible however, for the weight I have gained in the last decade, and on this day, three days after being laid off from my job, I decided to take control of that seemingly intractable issue: I joined Weight Watchers. We'll see what happens.
  • Psychosocial Event

    I've had the interesting experience of having been in an intimate relationship, then adopting a celibate lifestyle as a nun, and now living in a kind of in-between world between a nun and a layperson. As such, I have not chosen to get married or have a family. However, unlike most of my married friends I find I have a very extensive network of friends whom I associate with regularly, and I exist in a very supported circle of friends and family.
  • Psychosocial Event: Physician Assistant degree

    If all goes according to plan, I will graduate on this day with my Physician Assistant degree.
  • Psychosocial Event

    Again if all goes according to plan, I will have gone to PA school on a scholarship from the National Health Services Corps, and so for the 2 years following my graduation I will work in an NHSC designated Underserved Area, providing basic healthcare to people who are uninsured or have little access. I find that prospect very gratifiying.
  • Goal: Starting my own Buddhist Hospice

    I'm setting this date, my 50th birthday, as my goal to fulfill one of my longterm goals: starting my own Buddhist hospice. Is it different from another kind of hospice? I don't know how different it would be, except that as a Buddhist I would like certain things happening when I'm dying: monks chanting the Suttas (Buddha's teachings), a peaceful environment, staff well trained in meditation as well as their medical discipline. These are just a few wishes I wish to fulfill for dying Buddhists.
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    Late Adulthood

    Late Adulthood looks like a heck of a lot of fun to me. Having observed several loved ones in this age group, it's definitely what you make of it. I hope to retire and pursue my spiritual life specifically, going on months-long meditation retreats with my Buddhist Meditation Masters from Burma.
  • Biosocial Event

    This is the date I qualify for full Social Security benefits. I have always observed my elders and here's what I see as my best hope for surviving into late adulthood: be happy, happy people live longer (and if they don't at least they were happy!); exercise every day, especially yoga, it will slow down or in the case of yoga, even "reverse" the aging process; eat sparingly, that's the best way to preserve your organ systems and your joints.
  • Cognitive Event

    Again, by my observation, it's at 75 that I notice that even my elders who have taken great care of their health show inevitable signs of aging. Unfortunately, it seems to include not so much cognitive decline as a rigidity that does not allow for spontaneity or flexibility. The people I do not observe this phenomenon in are elderly Buddhist monks and nuns, probably because they have been meditating for so long they have learned to have a very flexible mind. I choose to follow this model.
  • Psychosocial Event

    Even though I hope to retire, I also have this idea that if indeed I have created the Buddhist Hospice I hope to create, I will be active in its functioning all through my later life. So I see my later years including meaningful work of some kind, paid or unpaid, as well as a large circle of friends of all generations, family of all generations, and a real commitment to my community as well.
  • Epilogue

    I turn 85 on this day, which is the age that my Life Expectancy Calculator says I will live to. If I have met my goal of starting and maintaining a Buddhist Hospice through my Adult and Later Adult years, I would certainly utilize its services now. I have a goal for dying, which is to die peacefully, mindfully, with gratitude and wisdom, and believe it or not joyfully if possible.