More reasons why I will never be an “adult”

I am a planner. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a plan for everything – school, work, and always at least a general idea of how I want my life to go.

Over the years I’ve slowly started letting go of my need to plan and instead let things happen as they will, because there’s really no way to predict 90% of what happens in life. But there’s still been one facet of “the plan” that I’ve stuck to. For as long as I can remember, I’ve believed that when I’m done with student teaching I’ll leave this small town and go experience the world, whether through Teach for America or teaching English in a foreign country, come Spring 2012 I am out of here.

Well, that’s what I’d thought. Because that’s what you do! You get a degree and then you go put it to use. You get a full time job and a house, and hopefully a significant other (I’m not getting any younger, right?) And, if you’re from around here, you get as far away as humanly possible.

But I’m not really sure about that now. I’d always imagined that I’d move away and start my own life and community. But there are two problems with that; one, how the hell do you both form a community and live actively in it with a forty hour a week job (plus lesson planning, grading, etc.)?

And now that I’m on the other side of the initial formation of a community – I’d say that our community has really only come into itself in the last few months – do I really want to go through all of that again? This week in particular has been both rough and exciting, and I’m left with a lingering discomfort about leaving here. Maybe I’m just scared of being out on my own. Or too lazy to figure out a way to live a simplistic, community-oriented life on my own. But doesn’t it make more sense that, if this is the way that I want to live for the rest of my life and I’m already in a community I love and consider family, why would I go anywhere else?

I’ve slowly letting go of my tightly held belief that teaching is the one and only thing I want to do with my life. Sure, I’ll finish up school, it would be pointless to drop out now. But I’ve come to realize that I would be okay if I ended up in another profession, in fact, there are lots of vocations I would be happy to have. Or maybe I could sub for a couple days a week instead of working full time – this life is so simple, I really don’t need a whole lot of income to be sustainable.

My main limiting factors in my participation in this community are the time and money I have to put toward my education. Even with all the grace offered me by my brothers and sisters, I think I’ll still feel like I’m really only a part time member as long as I have those financial and time restraints. I get little glimpses here and there what it would be like to really exist in this community; even just this Thursday when I had the day off school I got a taste of what it could be like to let things flow organically, and still get things done but while actually getting to be around these people.

Once I’m done with my student teaching, I have an increasing urge to stay with this community. Whether we remain here or eventually move somewhere else, this may be where I belong. I wonder how much crap my (biological) sisters would give me for sticking around, or if my parents would be disappointed if I didn’t pursue a career and chase after the American dream. Though no one will really say it to me, I’m pretty sure that most of my family thinks this is just a naive college phase, and that eventually I’ll grow up and out of this hippie lifestyle.

I don’t actually want to work a full time job. I don’t want to buy lots of useless stuff and get a huge house and lots of shiny new cars. I don’t want to return to a life of mostly shallow relationships and wiling away my time doing meaningless tasks.

Being in an intentional community has ruined me for the ideal conventional Western life. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. NonCharon
    Nov 15, 2010 @ 19:46:29

    Take it from someone who knows… once you start the rat race it can be very hard to step out of it again. Take your time and make worth while decisions slowly, rather than let other people’s expectations drive your major life choices. Do not let other’s decide for you, what success, maturity, and wholeness are.

    Kiddo, you’re a wonder. 🙂 When I was your age I was an arrogant bastard (yes, even more so than now) that was focussed on proving myself right and better than others. I would speak in the context of others in order to have an opportunity to be seen as ‘smart’. Being quiet is fine.

    I was undependable and noncommittal, being ‘boring’ and responsible is fine.

    I knew what was right and where I was going, and what G-d’s will was for me and everyone else, and I was wrong. Being unsure and humble is fine.

    Yes, I know you see your faults and failings. You see yourself as weak, flakey, passive, and people see you as better than you are. You can look back and see things that should have been done another way. If you get to the point where you no longer see those things, it will not be because they have ceased to be true, it will be because you’ve become comfortable and complacent.

    You’re doing great. Now, do I strike you as someone that says something like that lightly or often? 🙂

    Reply

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