About 20 years ago, when I left my last husband, I had a specific goal for my life. My life now is so far from that it is amazing that the person who had that goal and the person who crafted this life are even the same person.
What I wanted was a quiet and simple life. I wanted all of my friends to be welcome in my home, and for them to be there a lot. I wanted my home to be small so that I could care for it. You know that in my early sobriety I actually worked as a roofer and painter! When I started working for the state I was a receptionist. I swore that I would sit at that very desk for 20 years and then retire.
It all spun out of control. At the time, I thought I must be doing God’s will because it really wasn’t my will. But I think I was confused between doing God’s will (which may often be difficult) and just going with the flow.
My first boss at the hospital talked me into going to college – at the age of 43! There is something so seductive about education. I loved it. Once I got my bachelor’s, I had to get my master’s. I want a PhD behind my name so bad! I wish I could still be in school. But alas, there is that pile of debt – that has not decreased one cent in 11 years. Payments just go into the ether of interest and whatever else. Then there were the years, full of confidence about my future, when I took deferments. Oh Dear Lord, what have I done?
As soon as I got my bachelor’s degree, I moved into management. I mean literally within less than 30 days. Then once I got my master’s, I moved into the job I wanted, and truly loved it for a long time.
I bought a little townhouse, and in 3 years made money on that enough to buy a bigger house. It is no mansion by any means, 1500 square feet. But it is not made for someone who wants to maintain their own house. The roof is so high in the air, I have never been on it. I can’t paint it myself. I can’t even wash the upstairs windows. But the house has held its value – which is a miracle in this economy – and I actually have equity in it. But for 12 years I have lived in a house that I have been ambivalent about. I so wish I had a tiny house in North Denver where I want to live and close to my friends, and not the sanitary suburbs of the foothills.
I had come to hate my old job for the most part. I had some challenging times that I LOVED and the rest of the time it was just really old. When a year ago I got a call telling me about this great opportunity for a new job in a new department doing new things, I was ecstatic. The new job has at times been wonderful and at times been excruciating.
But here I am… 60 years old. Dressing up every day and going downtown to analyze numbers. I also get to do other things, but I am an analyst – that’s my job. It’s a long way from a receptionist, but could I have been happier with the simple life I wanted?
There are friends in my life who I love. But frankly, I don’t have time for them. I sponsor a couple of women which feels kind of burdensome right now. I don’t get to the number of meetings I would like. I have always wanted a life where I could go to daily Mass, but that certainly hasn’t happened.
Honestly, this just isn’t what I wanted and I don’t believe it is the life I should be living. I want simplicity. I want my life full of people, and not numbers running around on spreadsheets. I want to have the luxury of time to work with others. I want to give of myself to something meaningful, not just in the earning of a paycheck big enough to be beyond my wildest dreams when I was younger, but unfortunately not big enough to pay my bills and still eat and have gas in the car (I am so stupid with money!!!!!)
I don’t know how to make these changes, and frankly I don’t think my finances will allow me. I have to pay off the debt. That requires a big paycheck, which requires nearly 100% of my time and energy.
I wish I could work in a nursing home, or a shelter for battered women. I wish I could work with unwed mothers. I wish I could make a tiny salary for meaningful work and then come home to my tiny house.
But today I am where I am. I will endeavor to make it the best day I can. And I will pray for God’s intervention.
And thank you if you have read this long introspection into my life.
Christianity is an adventure: it will challenge you to a relationship with God, and to new, loving relationships with others. Like any true adventure, it poses some serious dangers – including the risk of death. It is not likely that you will die a martyr, but what may die is what you understand to be your self; you may have to bury a prideful understanding of yourself and your narcissistic fantasies. Finally, Christianity promises you wonderful fellowship with other human beings, and the great hope of genuine fulfillment. — Paul C. Vitz