Have you ever had one of those moments in life where you can’t imagine things ever being different? It’s more than a rut, it’s a never-ending cosmic whirlwind from which you can’t escape. When you look ahead to the years and decades to come, this is all you can see; the same stuff you’re dealing with now forever, over and over again, on repeat. It’s like your life has somehow become a horror movie version of Groundhog’s Day, without the love story or even the cute rodent.
Last January I got to this point, and it was bad. So bad. When I looked ahead, all I could see was my landlord raising my already-ridiculously-too-high-Los Angeles-rent yet again, having to pack and move yet again, having to find a new roommate yet again, becoming great friends with said roommate only to have them get engaged then married and having to find another one yet again, working 70 hours a week yet again, still not having enough for a savings account yet again, burning out yet again . . . FOREVER.
I could picture myself, a tubby 80 year old woman, having to go through exactly this, yet again. And, of course, I freaked out. Because these are circumstances I can survive and possibly even thrive in while they’re happening, but the thought of this being my entire future knocked the breath out of me. It was time for a change. A big one.
So, last year, I quit my job, gave away ⅔ of my belongings to thrift and independent book stores, moved the rest of my stuff into one bedroom at my mum’s place in the desert town from which I had escaped a decade ago, and ran away to a Christian commune in the English countryside for 3 months. I returned to the States just before Christmas to settle into Life, Episode VI.
Life, broken into seasons, is much more manageable and makes a lot more sense than the previously described endless linear view that never changes. So far, there have been 5 chapters to my life, episodes if you like; episodes more like British television or Star Wars films, quite long and with painful yet eager times of waiting in between.
Episode I, Childhood: idyllic, optimistic, happy, full of lots of moves, all about family and imagination.
Episode II, Jr. High and High School: when I discovered insomnia, literature, and that people suck.
Episode III, College-Post College: figuring out who I am, developing friendships, and a deepened understanding of God.
Episode IV, Dad’s Death: when life changed for all of us.
Episode V, Los Angeles: the first time I felt I truly fit into a church family, a city I loved, found independence & career, and all the stress that goes with it.
And now begins Episode VI, Back to the Desert. Or perhaps Episode VI, Finding Family. Or, to steal even more from my beloved Star Wars saga, Episode VI, A New Hope.
For most of Episode V of my life, I was a high school English teacher, and now I’m an elementary school library clerk. You know, I’m that obnoxious person constantly encouraging my students to find and use their voices. I’ve also been a Biblical counselor for over a decade, helping people process what’s going on in their lives from a biblical perspective. So, here I am, challenging myself to do just that, use my voice and process stuff by blogging once a week about the issues surrounding singles in the church and work and world. Are there any specific topics touching these areas you’d like me to explore in the next few weeks? Let me know in the comments.
Welcome to Episode VI in the life of the Awkward Spinster.