Thursday, October 06, 2011

Thinking about the future and other things

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?


Robin Edgar said...

How about *The* ever so cuddly and lovable Emerson Avenger? ;-)

I mean he *is* an A. B. Normal guy out who is quite liberal, a good conversationalist, definitely unfazed by the ministry label :-), and a former musician and D.J. who is into listening to all kinds of music. 4 out of 6 ain't bad. In fact it's exactly double 'Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad'. ;-)

Dare I say that your quite cordial *virtual* relationship with The Emerson Avenger is a wonderful example of your managing to learn something valuable from one or two of your comparatively minor failures? If only other UU clergy would learn from your example. . . Although, as far as *that* goes, I am happy to say that I actually have quite cordial relations with a fair number of other "less than perfect" but really quite good Unitarian Universalist ministers.

BTW As far as the odds tending to be against women your age, no matter how slim they've gotten etc. etc., it sure helps if you are a rich heiress or duchess or something with loads of money and property etc. ;-)

Good luck with your search for a new partner aka fellow traveller. Indeed you might find one on your post retirement travels. . . Travel is a great way of meeting new & interesting people.

ms. kitty said...

Thanks, Robin, and I hope we'll always be friends. I have learned from you----and my mistakes. You are not a mistake!

Robin Edgar said...

I am debating whether or not I should take offence at your back-handed compliment Miss Kitty. ;-)

It is looking like I might be one of those New Year's Eve babies that Rev. Debra Haffner Tweeted about the other day, what with my birthday coming up this Sunday. It is kind of fun being a Thanksgiving baby up here in Canada. Who knows? Maybe some sly person in a position of influence decided to make Canadian Thanksgiving come nine months after New Year's Day! I am pretty sure that the parenthood part was planned though. :-)

ms. kitty said...

Well, Happy Birthday this weekend, Robin!

And as I advise lots of people, if you know that a person doesn't usually try to insult people, assume that any possibly offensive remark probably isn't intended to offend.

Robin Edgar said...

I was just being a wag Kit, hence the ;-)

I am usually able to distinguish between intentional and unintentional offensive remarks, but your good advice is none-the-less appreciated.

Leland said...


I think you will have lots of fun after you move. For one thing, you won't be a reverend anymore, you'll still have your beautiful voice and interesting presence. Good days ahead. Enjoy.


ms. kitty said...

Thanks, Lee.

Joel said...

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.

Oh, now don't limit yourself to the liberal ones, Auntie! There are lots of conservative weirdos too.

Love you!

Joel said...

Okay, to tell you the truth, the conservative weirdos set my teeth on edge. I can only imagine how nuts they'd drive you. (If "nuts" is an acceptable term for someone form the helping professions. I guess if "weirdo" is...) :)

Seriously, Auntie, if I knew someone who matched your description, I'd introduce you to him in a heartbeat. You're wonderful.

ms. kitty said...

You're a sweetie, Joel, and I am ever so fond of you, even though we don't agree on some issues.

You're right----there are some men for whom "interesting" is not enough. I had to delete a comment that came in this morning that was just plain mean, from someone I formerly thought was interesting. And he calls himself a liberal!

ms. kitty said...

And it was nobody whose name or screen name you'd recognize. He has never commented here before.

Miss Kitty said...

Ms. K, this is a great post, and you speak very eloquently to those who work in the helping professions (I'd say teaching is among them). After a lifetime of helping other folks, it more than makes sense to consider how to make the time you have left fulfilling and worthwhile.

Right off, I don't know anyone to whom I'd introduce you. Most of the Colonel's friends--around his age, ranging from late 50s to early 70s--are married. The few who aren't are weirdos (and not in a good way). But if I did, I'd think about setting y'all up.

ms. kitty said...

Thanks, Miss K. There are definitely a lot of guys out there that I would NOT be interested in!

Mile High Pixie said...

There's gotta be a cadre of foxy over-50 dudes out there who are jonesing for a gal like you. Sadly, all the older dudes I know are architects, and I wouldn't wish them on you. :-) I love the idea that you'll be spending some time in your retirement in a mode of receiving as well as giving. The physician must heal herself. Meanwhile, for the weirdos...get some pepper spray.

My word verification thingy is "prickle". Insert jokes here.

ms. kitty said...

Thanks, Pixie, that's what I'm hoping for---that cadre of non-architect, non-weird foxy guys! (And let's hope I never have to use the pepper spray!)