Sunday, October 01, 2006

Get a life

Connections are important, especially when you move. Moving from college to a new town is hard; often you don’t have connections. Work and building a career provide you with connections; of course, you have to work at this, but the locale is ready-made. Finding social connections is a bit more difficult. I remember going to bars and shopping and going to parks on Saturdays. Most of my contacts came from people I knew at work or in the same career field.

Families with children have built-in connections with other parents, teachers, and, if you are church-goers, people at church.

Retirement moves are the most difficult, especially when you move to an area where you don’t have built-in connections. Work-related friends are left behind. Civic organizations can provide some new relationships – if you’re involved in civic groups. Moving into a retirement neighborhood or one with a “club” can provide acquaintances who may become friends. But, church is frequently the usual place to find new friends. Volunteer service work is a good place, too.

A year ago we moved into a home that had everything we thought we needed to enjoy life. A woodworking shop, a boat dock, a garage, a separate room for my crafts, lots of windows and views of the water. The house needed some work, and that took quite a long time to complete – building a new house might have taken less time. Now that work is finished. We are free to enjoy our new retired life.

Only, I don’t have a retired life yet. I moved, unpacked and parked. I can look at the water all day long if I wish. I can shop, eat out, and come home to feast my soul on the beauty of the place. I still do my crafts/arts. I still keep up with friends by email. I’ve gotten hooked on blogs – reading and writing. But, I don’t really have a life, at least not a life by the standards of before.

I was very active in the church and in the community. I did some consulting work; I met lots of interesting people. I kept up with local political and civic affairs. I had an identity that was based on many of my likes and dislikes, and I had connections throughout the county and even the country.

But, here, I just parked. And, it was good. My Mom always told me, “You can be anything you want to be.” Of course, she always added, “But do learn to type so you can make a living.” Once again, I can create a new identity if I wish. I can be almost anything I want to be. The only problem is that I don’t know who or what I want to be.

Life would be so much easier if people were calling and asking me to do things. Then I could make choices based on what was offered. But, the phone’s not ringing for me. No one knows my skills or talents or interests here, and some days I’m not so sure of them either. What I do know is getting involved with the same things that made up my life before we moved here would be the easiest way to make connections. That was a great life, but I think I may want something different. Only, I don’t know what I do want. The world is out there for my choosing, and the choices are too many.

The downtown Episcopal Church is very large with three clergy and more programs than I can track. The suburban (if you can call it that) church is very small and needs lots of help in growing. No local church fits the same mold as the one I left where I had been happy for many years. And, I don’t change as easily as when I was younger and moved around more often. I didn’t have so many expectations then either. And, no one’s knocking on my door asking me to do something at church. I volunteered for a job once last year, but the project got rained out. Maybe that’s when I quit going to church. I felt rained out. So, I do morning, evening prayer or compline here. And, it is good.

But, I miss the connections. I miss the discussions of church politics. I miss the sermons, the hymns, the music, the pomp of the service, the murmuring silence of communion. I miss being a part of something bigger than me.

Someday soon, I have to “get a life”.

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