Hi! My name is Abby Norman. You might remember me. I graduated from Searsport District High School in 2009, where I spent the better part of four years believing that I was Maine’s answer to Meryl Streep. If my name seems to be ringing a bell, it’s probably because it often appears in press releases for local theater companies. Or, you’re mistaking me for Abby Normal; a Mel Brooks reference I know well. It’s also possible that you’ve read something that I’ve written online. Maybe you follow my blog, or saw my viral post about Ebola and HAZMAT over the summer on The Huffington Post.
Maybe you have no idea who I am. In which case please do read further and I’ll introduce myself properly.
I was born and raised in Maine and was probably one of the last kids in my generation (we’re called “millennials” or “Gen Y”) to have anything that remotely resembled an idyllic childhood. I grew up playing on the shore, running along the wharf with friends and eating red hotdogs. I, like many kids who grew up in Searsport, was thrilled to get a chance to ride on the harbormaster’s boat (shout out to Wayne Hamilton for being really nice to the neighborhood kids, even if we were kind of obnoxious). After school, a throng of us would make our way downtown to get snacks at Tozier’s Market and head over to Mosman Park until it got dark.
I graduated in 2009 and moved to New York City. I was studying dance under a woman named Sara Rudner and I was, as you might say, “living the dream” of a small town girl moving to the big city to start an exciting new life. Unfortunately, the dream was cut short when I was diagnosed with a chronic and progressive autoimmune disease called endometriosis. You’ll probably hear this word a lot on this blog, because it’s a huge part of my life. Having endometriosis meant that I couldn’t dance anymore, so I left college and moved back to Maine to undergo my first surgery. Then another. Then another. I never did move back to NYC and, instead, found a home for myself in Camden. I’m currently living alone, but happy, since I’m full-time dog mom to a chihuahua-dachshund mix named Whimsy. You’ll see a lot of her on this blog.
I love living in Camden. I think it’s one of the most stunningly beautiful places on Earth. I initially moved here because it was close to the hospital where all my doctors were and it was home to my favorite coffee shop (Zoot! *Waves to Sondra*). I’ve been here for a little over four years and I have no intention of moving away any time soon. For a few of those years, I actually worked in the hospital. I learned a great deal about healthcare from perspectives other than my own (being the patient) and it allowed me to begin working as a consultant developing marketing materials, blog posts and grant proposals for firms nationwide.
I officially left my “real job” about a month ago and took on freelancing full time. I’m twenty-three years old and I guess I figured I had nothing to lose. If you follow my journey through this blog, you’ll get a picture of what it’s like for young adults living in Maine and trying to make a career for themselves. My generation, the millennial generation, has been forced into a really weird “slashie” lifestyle because of the economy. Many of us graduated from college only to find that there were few of the “real jobs” we expected to get available to us. A lot of my friends still live at home for this reason. Then, there’s a camp of us young folk who decided that we wouldn’t pursue one career. We’d be “slashies.” For a few years I was a data coordinator/writer. I have friends who are computer programmers/musicians, baristas/actors and so on, encompassing an infinite number of ‘/ ’ imaginable. I feel both terrified and fortunate that I’m not really slashin’ anymore: I am “a writer” – but I’m also a young adult trying to navigate in a world where the generation ahead of me views my demographic as lazy and spoiled, but the generation behind me is being primed to be more competent at computer skills as a fifth grader than I am apt to be at 25. Millennials are in a really weird place, and we’re being weird together. I’m just one voice in the fray, but I hope it’s a voice you’ll find fun, informative and reassuring.
Happy Holidays to you and yours – and a healthy New Year to you! Hoping to see you around here in 2015. I’m stoked to be here!