The Future has figured large in my thinking lately. And I feel a need to write it down, even though my thoughts are jumbled and veer between ecstasy at the thought of not working any more and terror at the thought of not working any more. And it has nothing to do with income.
Just now I was looking at what I need to do tomorrow, which isn't very much, and wondering how I would fill the day if I didn't have a project of some kind. That's the kind of thinking that causes me terror.
Earlier today I was walking up the road and counting "only so many more board meetings of such and such agency" and "I've done my last Water Ceremony" and wondering "what will it be like to live in a totally new place?" That's the kind of thinking that gets me all charged up.
I am tired. Since 1964, I have served in one helping profession after another: welfare worker, Baptist missionary, junior high school Spanish teacher, junior high school guidance counselor, and now minister. The helping professions, I think, are among the most demanding careers in our culture, and I've spent a long time working to help people get their feet under them, grow up, figure out who they are, and meet their spiritual needs. That's almost 50 years of mostly-enjoyable but challenging work. No wonder I'm tired!
It's been a long haul but a joyful one. I've loved my work, each job, almost each person, and have felt fulfilled and successful nearly all of the time. I've had my failures, but I managed to learn something valuable from each of them. And now it's time to lay that burden down and figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life.
I figure I have 15 to 20 good years left. That's a long time. And for those years, I probably won't have responsibility for anyone but myself. I want connection with people----stimulation without too much leadership demanded from me. I'd like to just watch for awhile instead of having to organize and lead things.
I've also been thinking of the possibility of finding a partner, a companion, some nice guy who is my equal in many ways and would enjoy my company. I hope for good conversations, a little romance, shared activities, and a shared life. Not marriage, but good company. I have done a little looking on online sites but the results were not encouraging.
My best romances have been with musicians----one a guitar player and old timey square dancer and the other a banjo player who loved to hike. These were outstanding relationships, but, as happens, we went our separate ways. The guitar player is happily married to someone else and the banjo guy recently died. But they gave me gifts of love and fun that have lasted me a long time. It was because of these two fellows that I learned that I could sing. I'm great friends with a local guy who is a guitar/bass/mando/dobro/washboard player, but he's not interested in more and that's okay.
I have noticed that I tend to be drawn toward weirdos. Wait, that's not fair. I'm drawn toward eccentric men because they look interesting. I have also had a pattern over time of trying to befriend the men that nobody else liked much, the men who had deficiencies that I overlooked because they were interesting. None of those men have lasted long in my life.
This pattern, I think, started with my Spanish prof, Dr. Malone, in college; few people liked Dr. M because he was so tough on students. So I decided I'd like him and get him to like me. Dr. M was not the sort to hit on women students and I wasn't interested in that either; I wanted him to like me because I was a good Spanish student and excited about my studies.
I married the man I married because everyone told me he would never get married---he was just a Don Juan type of guy. Now there was another challenge! I didn't notice his serious quirks at first but they became a huge problem over time. Luckily, the Favorite Son was the beautiful product of the marriage and made those years worth while.
Boyfriends after divorce tended to be oddball guys who didn't last long; I wasn't that stable a person either, so I guess we deserved each other. But into that mix dropped Mr. Guitar for several years and later, Mr. Banjo, and their caring for me helped me see that I deserved something better than weirdos. I deserved a nice, normal guy---who was interesting!
But when I went into the ministry, dating and romance stopped short. Before seminary, I briefly dated a professor at the seminary but once I enrolled, that ended. In seminary, I had no time or interest, and men outside the seminary were clearly a bit intimidated and tended to shy away.
Since then, my only romance was with a lovely guy in Portland who was seriously wounded by a hurtful divorce and also struggling with having been molested as a teenager; he wasn't eccentric but he didn't have any energy for a relationship. He needed therapy, not romance.
Recent experiences with prospective fellows have been disappointing. I've had the experience of being placed on a pedestal because of the "Reverend" bit and then knocked off that pedestal for unfathomable reasons. I've been enjoined from hugging someone I like a lot because he has an antipathy for touch.
Okay, so this may be a little too much soul-baring. Sorry about that. But as I lose weight (26 pounds now!) and start to feel pretty again, I am eager to have some romance in my life. The odds tend to be against women my age, no matter how slim they've gotten, but I want to give it a shot! Maybe there is some nice, normal guy out there who is liberal, a good conversationalist, unfazed by the ministry label, a musician, and looking for a nice woman his age who can sing.
Do you know anybody you'd like to introduce me to?