This is a time in life when many of my women friends are considering what we want to do “next.”
Some of us are single.
Some of us have means; some not so much.
Most of us who are single are trying to understand the ins and outs of “never being able to retire.”
For me, I’d always thought I wanted to engage with some kind of work, even as I aged.
My ex always claimed to like that idea. He used to say he’d retire when I was making as much as he did at whatever time he said that. I’d go teach and dig scientific holes at archy sites and write and he’d stop working and play his guitar. Seemed okay to me at the time.
When these little conversations happened, I really had no idea how sparse the F/T teaching jobs were; I didn’t foresee what would happen with my life in archaeology; I had no idea that a virus would want to have my heart for lunch; and I really didn’t get what was happening in my marriage. I was living in a fine little bubble. A very temporary bubble. A very illusory bubble.
So you should view this fleeting world
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream,
A flash of lightening in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.
~ the Buddha (one translation)
Yeah, that’s about right.
I’ve been experiencing a shift in my thinking. “Shift” is the right word for it. It’s like the whole framework of my life has just shuddered on down the line.
For a number of years I thought my life was taking a certain course, the course I talked about above. I would settle into some kind of high desert sunset and let the years unroll with Mr. Ex.
What a load of happy horse-shit.
My former partner not only was not at all invested in thoughts like that, he hadn’t been for any number of years.
The emotions attached to all of this have been difficult but, honestly, lately I’ve been feeling more like the financial practicalities are swarming to the forefront. Maybe that’s good.
My finances now are my own. The IRS thing is resolved. I have to repair some of the credit damage that lingers on the files at credit bureaus. I have to make sure that my name is not being used in some of the ways it was in the past by certain individuals. At this point, I suppose that would be identity theft. But, finally, it’s my identity. So, yeah, maybe this kind of stress is good in some ways.
A friend of mine and one of my sons told me when the whole messy process began that I would come out in better shape, even with an income quartered (drawn and quartered?), than I had been in while married. They both made some accurate points. And now at least I don’t have to worry about where that money has gone and listen to stories invented to persuade me.
I am beginning to think longer now, not so short.
While I was going through the divorce, so much of my thinking was short term. How to make it from Point A to Point B. That’s done. My situation now is what it is.
The county and the federal government are helping me with support of my final minor child. In a year and a half that assistance will be gone.
Time to begin composing a new life so that doesn’t smack me upside the head when it arrives.
Considering what is in the academic world, what is in cultural resource management in California, what is directly in front of me, I’m done with the academic climb as a way to provide for myself and my family. Archaeology is, and will always be, a passion. Maybe paid maybe unpaid. I’ve done both. I may continue to do both.
I have a certain level of disability that may or may not improve. Self-care dictates that I need to consider this if I want to be around to help provide for my younger kids and help my older kids and grandkids.
Right now I have no freakin’ idea what I will be doing in a year and a half. I know that I went to the beach with the younger three kids a week ago and enjoyed it. I will teach this week. I may take a trip out to a site in several weeks and do some work, if the cardio doc says okay. We had a farm day last weekend and we will have another before the end of the month.
Now I need to develop a consciousness that will lead me into the future.
I know I need to view my life shifting as a good thing. I need to get myself out there more, out into nature and out “there.” There being wherever it may be at any given time. Right now it’s driving out to Brendan’s soccer practice.