How did you get here and where will you go?

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How did you get here and where will you go?

Post by OldPro »

At this time of year I sometimes reflect on how I got to where I am today.

It really is just the accident of birth and the forks in the road where a choice is made to take one way over another that decides so much of where our life goes. There but for the grace of God go I, really is true. I'm not a religious person but I do sometimes think thank God for the life I have had and for the choices my Father made.
Last edited by OldPro on Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How did you get here and where will you go?

Post by Dragline »

Interesting story -- it reminded me of "How Green Was My Valley", which is one of my favorite movies.

My existence is similarly one of happenstance. My father came to the US in 1945 from what was then British Honduras (now Belize) on a scholarship to pre-seminary college in Iowa with the idea (or his mother's idea) that he might become a priest. (Two of my aunts are Sisters.) That didn't happen and he eventually met my mother when he went on to medical school in Milwaukee. She was the seventh of eight children from a working class German family. They made a pretty odd couple at the time!

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Re: How did you get here and where will you go?

Post by IlliniDave »

Most of mt relevant history is in my journal, so I won't rehash it in detail here, but a summary follows. 6/8ths of my great grandparents were immigrants (Italy, Poland, Germany), and the other two were children of immigrants (Ireland). All my grandparents grew up on farms and 3/4 were lost during the depression. My other grandfather was the youngest of 3 sons so had no future on the family farm. All my grandparents wound up in the city seeking work, and except one, along with their parents. So my roots are low end of blue collar. Both my parents were teachers until I came along, then mom stayed at home. So low end of blue collar morphed into lowest rung of middle class during my parents generation. There was not a lot of financial difference between the two, just that my dad wore a jacket and tie to work instead of a blue shirt with his name on it. Many of our neighbors who made their living in the factories on a high school education enjoyed more income than we had.

I was a boring kid and just did what everyone said I should do--I mostly kept out of trouble, did well enough in school, got a couple degrees, took a job, and still work for the same company today, 28.75 years later. I started saving money my second year on the job (most years 12%), had a major setback in 2007/8 due to a divorce, and have only been hard core about ER/frugality for about the last 4 years (though I'm naturally somewhat frugal).

Where will I go? Well, I've got somewhere between 0 and 3.5 years left in my professional career. Then I will move back "home" (Northern Illinois) and spend the warm 6 months of every year in a cabin on the doorstep of a large northern wilderness area. How exactly things will play out against that backdrop I do not know.

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My parents' first child:

Post by C40 »

Mom's purse on car roof
Drove off, diaphragm broken
Had sex anyways

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Re: How did you get here and where will you go?

Post by jacob »

@C40 - Hah! I learned from my dad that I was an "accident" when I was 18 or 19 or so. I was, like, "Dude, WTF?!" or at least the Danish equivalent. Apologies for the valleyspeak, but I didn't expect that ... at the time. Now I think that "whoops, surprise" is how the majority of "babies are made".

--- I figure everybody can get a 90% accurate view of my backstory from the blog and the various podcasts I've done.

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Re: How did you get here and where will you go?

Post by cmonkey »

Long story short, working my butt off. I don't reminisce much but it was nice thinking about where I have come from. I have realized over the past few weeks (since writing that) how much I have changed in the just the last 5 years (this year the most) and most of the people I used to know and some of those I still know haven't changed at all. I've started thinking about how it's important to embrace each stage of life and not to cling to any one stage, but just bring the best of each stage with you.

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Re: How did you get here and where will you go?

Post by George the original one »

Yes, 53 years ago I was a surprise baby to dad (then age 46), though maybe mom (then age 42) had an idea... my brother is 19 years older than I am, my sister is 10 years older, and there was another brother in between them.

Dad's ancestors came to the Massachusetts Bay colony in 1634 as part of the Great Migration and advanced across the continent as the frontier moved west, typically a decade or two behind the frontier. By 1860, they had settled in Wisconsin and ran cattle for 3 generations near Madison until about 1900. Grandpa's generation was the first to become "city-fied" and he eventually moved his family to Lincoln, Nebraska shortly before the Great Depression. During WWII, grandpa settled in Chickasha, Oklahoma, possibly to be near my dad who was stationed nearby after WWII broke out.

Mom's ancestors came to the Pennsylvania colony in 1749. They, too, advanced across the continent as the frontier moved west, typically a decade or two behind the frontier. Great-granddad's generation became "city-fied" in the 1890s as he was appointed to Lincoln, Nebraska for his ministry, though the branch that went into medicine was "city-fied" prior to the Civil War. Great-granddad walked to Oregon (where I live) from Ohio for a land deal in the 1890s and granddad was brought along for the experience. Granddad apparently thought highly of Oregon, as he settled there in retirement during WWII.

My parents, though living in the same neighborhood in Uni Place, Nebraska, didn't meet until college years. They got married (eloped?) in Virginia and settled in Washington, D.C. until WWII interrupted everyone's plans. Dad enlisted in the Navy because he didn't want to be drafted into the Army and was initially posted to a naval airbase in Oklahoma. Military plans change, however, and when the Pacific theatre got underway, he was assigned as a diesel mechanic onboard a subchaser. Post WWII, dad moved the family to Portland, Oregon, to resume college and mom got to enjoy being near her dad. They adopted Oregon, much preferring it to Nebraska, and their love of the land here was impressed upon me.

Now that I am retired, my time is my own and I intend to enjoy this fine land I am settled into.

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Re: How did you get here and where will you go?

Post by Sclass »

Wow, thanks for sharing everyone! Some of those are cool stories.

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Re: How did you get here and where will you go?

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

My paternal paternal line came over on the second voyage of the Mayflower, and founded a rather large city in Massachusetts. My great-grandfather was the Treasurer of Detroit, his son was the City Attorney for Detroit, and my father adjudicated over corporate appeals for the IRS in their Detroit location. My paternal grandmother was second generation Irish. She worked as a nurse before marrying. She had 5 sisters who also lived in Detroit, so my father grew up with a huge rowdy clan of cousins. My mother's parents were both second generation Polish working class. My mother was the first college graduate in her family and was very upwardly-mobile status symbol oriented. My father was a bit of an affluent playboy in his youth, but was core old-school conservative in his financial philosophy and dear-old-Dad in his behavior in my childhood. I think he taught me about "capital" when I was 8, and he belonged to a stock market club that met monthly and also played poker and drank a lot. They were both rather intellectual and somewhat hot-tempered, and they had terrible "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" level fights about money that would degenerate into class warfare throughout my childhood. After the birth of my youngest sister, when I was 10, my mother suffered severe post-partum depression which triggered a degeneration into bi-polar disease, and her high value for status symbols became a shopping mania which eventually almost bankrupted my father.

Beyond the fact that my mother's financial behavior was terribly destructive, my father had always been the warmer, more engaged, more fun and more responsible parent, so I took his side in the fight and largely adopted his philosophy. But, I was also very close to my maternal grandmother who was a fiercely independent working woman during my childhood. After divorcing two husbands and being jilted by a married lover, she bought her own little house and kept it until her death even though the neighborhood became so dangerous that she once had to fight a mugger to keep her purse. She clipped coupons, bet on the ponies, got her hair done in a black-market basement beauty parlor, bought lottery tickets, grew vegetables in her yard and canned them, filled her purse with sugar and ketchup packets at restaurants, and even sometimes took out a little red pen and would alter the prices on tags in department stores. She had a Russian immigrant boyfriend who lived in Windsor and looked like a data analyst for the KGB. He took her on trips and sometimes bought her appliances or roof repairs. She was a "hot little number" (according to my ex-step-grandfather) and also a "tough cookie", but I was her first grandchild and special pet and was spoiled rather rotten by her. When she discovered a copy of Playgirl magazine in my possession when I was about 14, she just laughed and said "Those boys are alright, but you take care of you, baby." I currently reside within walking distance of the house where she was born to her immigrant parents.

So, my financial functioning/philosophy favors my father's old-school upper-middle-class-gentleman rule-of-law-and-preservation-of-capital conservatism mixed with my grandmother's working class independent street hustle, and opposes my mother's status seeking shopaholic insanity.

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Re: How did you get here and where will you go?

Post by BRUTE »

brute has spent most of his life trying to find himself.

but there was nothing there.

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Re: How did you get here and where will you go?

Post by Did »

Many of my ancestors were sent to Australia as convicts. That would have seen as a terrible thing at the time, but I can't imagine a better country to have been raised in.

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Re: How did you get here and where will you go?

Post by jacob »

Genealogy in my culture has never been a big deal. I only know my roots as far as my grandparents go and until recently I haven't been the slightest bit interested in going back further. All future-oriented.

DW has always said I look like a "typical Dane" which initially puzzled me but now that I haven't visited for many years, I can see what she means. I suppose my genetic roots go back at least several hundred years. Judging by my looks, my ancestors stayed pretty close to where they were born.

I recently asked my parents if there was anyone in my [ancestral] line they knew who somewhat resembled me in terms of temperament, lifestyle, choices, etc. Apparently not. First thing they noted was my supposed intellect "as coming out of nowhere" which was kinda embarrassing to me :oops: But, I'm the first one in the line to go for advanced/postgraduate education (college degrees, even a basic bachelors, are still rare in my family) and consequently I grew up making my own way intellectually since about the 7th grade---at least that's about when I could no longer ask anyone for advice. My parents were and are hard workers with few if any other interests. My father (ESTJ) worked his way up from sitting at the cash register to being the VP (second level from the top, not just "sales") of a national supermarket chain. My mother (ISFJ) was mostly a SAHM but got up at 4a to clean (schools) and came home at 7a when I grew up and later worked looking after kids after school (after I moved out). Also, she was a contender for the national handball team but quit when she got pregnant with me. My father was an amateur footballer (soccer for you Americans, it's played with the feet, hence "football" ;-) ). Maybe I got my VO2max-talents from them. My sister was a pretty competitive athlete too. Even when we kids were close to 20 and our parents were 40-45, we still ran 5ks in the woods coming in between 20 (young) and 30 mins (old) respectively.

Now 80% of the books in the house when I grew up was in my room with 15% in my sister's (ISFP) room and the remaining 5% (or less ... I don't remember seeing them read a book ever when growing up) for my parents' teenage collection. They have never moved more than 30 miles from where they were born. However, they were always very supportive of whatever direction we took (my sister was the wild child... before ERE, I was the predictable one) only expecting us to work hard at whatever direction we were pursuing and not quit before we finished. I still worry as to what they'll do with themselves once they no longer have a regular job (to be seen later in 2016).

Grandparents on one side were initially in charge of managing a farm (so I know how to plow with a tractor including running three gear levers since age 15 or so) but ended up as unskilled factory labor which occasionally caused some blue vs white collar value friction with my parents. Other grandparents were SAH and worked the line on a meat processing plant respectively---later turning into various crafts (painting, metal work) and bike repair at a scale much larger than mine. He also had the biggest collection of books (mostly crime novels) in the family before me. He also spent a year sailing tall ships. Although, unfortunately, I was too young/immature at the time to make much of the connection with him at the time when he was still alive. He's probably the closest "mental" relative I've had (I strongly suspect that he was INTJ). He died of Alzheimers after leaving his garage/workshop and moving into a condo in his 70s. I have one grandparent left. The hardworking grandfather who once made my father puke trying to outwork him. I wish he was 40 years younger so I could challenge him! The grandmother I never really connected with died of strokes after remaining in a vegetative state for a year or so. The other grandmother who was a supremely good cook and also overweight (but not diabetic) died of colon cancer.

Going back to great-grands (the last of which died when I was still a kid), there seem to be more similarities. One of them spent several years pursuing his fortunes in the US starting a farm but failed and eventually went back. Another referred to himself as a "rentier". I use the same term to explain what I currently do to my family. But overall I don't know a whole lot about any ancestors born prior to 1920. Like, who were the other six? I have no idea!?

I figure by the time I make it a top priority to track this stuff down, records will be gone.

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Re: How did you get here and where will you go?

Post by GandK »

Have several genealogy buffs in the family, so fortunately/unfortunately, I know a lot of this stuff.

Both my grandfathers came from famous families. My mother's father is a Bacon. As in, Sir Francis. I'm a niece, not a direct descendant, but it's definitely the same line. And my father's father was a Hatfield, as in the Hatfields and the McCoys. <facepalm> That really tells you everything you need to know about both of those men. Their attitudes, thoughts, and actions were extremely accurate reflections of their histories. And a more bizarre mashup I cannot conceive. This is what Appalachia looks like, BTW, if you've never visited... part gentleman free thinkers, part raving Neanderthals.

My grandmothers were always more interesting to me. My mother's mother was from one of the first settler families, and she came from a long line of politicians, judges and teachers. She, too, was a college professor... and a writer. And my father's mother was Native American. She didn't talk about it much; her own mother had been beaten once upon a time for talking about her Native American ways, and that fear made quite an impression. My grandmother was visibly not a white chick in a time and place when it was not okay to be brown. She was all secrets and shadows. I loved them both deeply... in many ways they shaped me more than my parents did. I know it's no coincidence that today I spend my spare time writing about Native Americans.

As to where I will go, I'm not sure. I'm not sure if I want to become or to overcome my past. Or myself. On this last day of 2015 I'm just hoping to be better, in my own estimation, tomorrow than I am today.

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Re: How did you get here and where will you go?

Post by BlueNote »

I was adopted as a baby. I found my birth mother and it turns out she was also adopted (along with two of her siblings). I have very little in the way of genealogy going for me right now. All my known blood relatives are alive and well. I recently spent some money (been thinking about this for about a year) to get some genotyping done. I spit into a tube and mailed it off to 23andMe, haven't gotten the results yet. Ultimately it hasn't mattered so far in my life but it would be nice to know if I had a greater probability for certain genetic conditions. The ancestry data would simply be icing on the cake but I guess it wouldn't hurt to know some basic information. I should probably watch my weight and exercise more.

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Re: How did you get here and where will you go?

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