18 October 2010

Just like starting over

I'm just gonna say it: feeling like you're starting life over after 30 as an unemployed, formerly LDS nontheist-leaning agnostic single gay man with strong values and principles but without a community in which to share them with others or direct energies for service or dialog and who wants to have his own children but has no firm career direction or money with which to pay for further education...sucks.

Ha, there's more to me than those changes and situations in my life, but those sure feel like a lot right now. But seeking direction and maybe community of a new kind is...gonna be a journey. And I'm trying to take the first steps in that journey.

I feel progressively more hopeful, finally focusing. Stripped of the last shreds of what I though I had going for me, I am a lowly and broken man finding new confidence and feeling more open than ever...more ready to do whatever I need to do to build my life up.

Dating is not on my to-do list. I shut down my two dating profiles I set up out of curiosity a while back, and if I resurrect them, it won't be until I have my poop in a group. I figure I'm looking at a couple of years of singleness and building my life on my own before considering actively seeking someone else to mix into it. If I were to meet someone along the way, as I did this summer--but someone less conflicted this time--I might consider dating, but I have to be really cautious about that, I think. Even though I feel like I don't have a lot of time to waste if I hope to ever have a family, I'm increasingly OK with setting that worry aside and deciding that if I want to increase my chances of finding what I want, rather than a lifetime of what I've been doing, I need this time, I need the risk.

I've gotten out just to take photos a couple of times lately. It's nice to be seeking out beauty or stories. I sold my first print online the other day: an 11x14 of a photo I took in 2008 of the setting sun glaring slightly from behind the Salt Lake temple out-of-focus behind temple square flora. I don't have any more posted for sale. Doubt I will. That's the only one I sold in 3 months out of about 60. But it was still fun.

I've been job-hunting more lately, sending a few applications every week, mostly in the two metropolitan areas in which I can live without paying first month, last month, and safety deposit, because I can't afford more than month-to-month.

I attended a Unitarian Universalist service/lunch yesterday out of curiosity, something I used to make fun of: the church for people who don't want a church, the church with no doctrine, the pointless church. I get it now. A community to gather people who subscribe to principles and values and speak of faith without necessarily needing to attach set stories or theism, or at least without needing to impose them on others. I'd read about them online, but it was a new experience to be face-to-face with them, seeing the reality of it, comparing the community to the one I came from, aching about what it lacks and rejoicing over what it offers, comparing the philosophy of it: a refreshingly "open" and "see it from all angles" crowd with a predominant belief in a more self-determining theology I would have dismissed as a "conveniently hands-off God" ten years ago. When the lady I was chatting with dropped her plate of food, my old church-boy instincts kicked in, and I went to the kitchen and grabbed a broom and dustpan and paper towels. I was happy to help and to make sure she didn't endure undue embarrassment from cleaning up alone. The woman who gave the sermon asked later, "Did I see you sweeping earlier?" I said she probably had. She smiled and said enthusiastically, "Welcome to church!" I laughed tentatively. I was invited to attend again, to join the choir, to join the men's group, to check the newsletter for service activities. I may. But it's all so weird...to be even thinking about attending "services" or activities at the "non-church"...to be among mostly older people and very few single folks...to be going anywhere other than an LDS building without some ulterior reason for "having" to go.

I'm focusing on assessing my interests and looking into different fields of study or work. I've contacted three fairly distinct career counselors and face the task of choosing one, which I will do by tomorrow night after speaking with them briefly on the phone. I've never done therapy or counseling of any kind, so I don't know how this is supposed to go, whether I'll want to address anything besides career decisions, or how I'll pay for $80-150/hr (of course the one I'm most interested in working with, so far, is the expensive one), but I need something to change, and I hope this will help me focus and identify what my blocks are. If it does, it's well worth it.

So yeah, starting fresh at my age bites, but...it's better than doing nothing, never starting over, or going backwards. And whether it leads me by contrast back in the direction I used to be going or whether it opens my eyes, mind, and heart to new avenues, taking the steps feels right.


MoHoHawaii said...

... but someone less conflicted this time ...


Kiley said...

"poop in a group" - I was laughing pretty hard at that!

The UUs are pretty great for many reasons. In some ways I think it is the perfect almost non-religion. I have only attended a few times, but if I ever actively went to church again I think that would be where I would go.

Good luck.

Bravone said...

I don't think you're really starting over, just continuing a journey of self discovery.

darkdrearywilderness said...

I'm interested in hearing more about your experience with the UUs if you keep going. I've been curious about checking them out for awhile but haven't gotten up the courage to "betray" my LDS roots.


If you're still looking for some clarity on direction I've found meditation helps settle the thoughts enough to see a more clear path. It's definitely worth a try to find a meditation center and check it out. I would stick with the vipassana tradition but I know there are other traditions there in Seattle. I like vipassana because it's easier to understand. Just a thought.

favoritenic said...

I was hired by the UU Church of Ogden about two years ago to play for their Sunday services. It's taken time, but I tend to agree with you:

"I[, too] get it now. A community to gather people who subscribe to principles and values and speak of faith without necessarily needing to attach set stories or theism, or at least without needing to impose them on others."

Although I've not joined their church, nor do I really plan on joining any church beside the one into which I was born, I have to say that associating with the UU's has been one of the most inspiring experiences in COMMUNITY I've ever enjoyed.

As you "start fresh," remember Ms. Dickinson's words, "Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door."

Best to you, friend. :)