I’m starting this blog as I begin a new phase of my life, which I like to think I am in the middle of, although my wife says I’m delusional.
I am turning 50 next month, and I’m weirdly cool about this. When it was my 30th birthday, I felt no stress either. I knew what I was doing with my life, just weeks away from moving to Spokane, Washington and beginning a graduate writing program. Now, here on the cusp of 50, I’m starting a new phase again.
Just for fun, I will structure this blog post like this:
• I’ll tell you what I’m ending.
• I’ll tell you what I’m in the middle of.
• I will tell you what’s beginning.
I am ending. I am ending my life. I am ending my life as a fundraiser for hire. It’s been a 12-year phase. There’s some anxiety about stating that out loud, but I’m on an extended, three-year glide path to this ending, I imagine it sometime around my birthday in 2017. I’ll be 53. This is all I’ll say about this for now.
I am, as I said, in the middle of my life. I’m turning 50 in August (no, I don’t want a big party), my partner and I have been together for 16 years and are doing fine, and I have a daughter who is about to turn 13. I’m employed and have been so in one way or another since I was 15. I have projects to complete in my capacity as a consultant even as I type this. I’ve been a writer and word person most of my life, as my parents were before me. I am Jewish, and always have been in one sense or another, and I’ve been actively dancing with it as a spiritual practice since I was 28. These days I am not always observant, but we light candles on Shabbat, and I say some prayers and certain Hebrew words float through my mind and heart every day.
I’m beginning. I’m beginning the process of becoming a hospice chaplain, with a training emphasis in nature connectedness and rites of passage work (I’m not satisfied with this terminology, or even these links, and expect to fine-tune it for myself as time goes on, but it’s better to start now and change later than to not start at all). Again, all on a three-year plan. I’m currently writing my essays to apply for Certified Chaplaincy Training (CPE) programs, reengaging as a hospice volunteer, preparing to do further work with organizations like this and this, and working to actively and consciously call out to and listen to G_D in my daily life. It involves recommitting to my self as a Jew. It may involve getting a Masters of Divinity—or M.Div. as the cool kids call it—and getting ordained. I’m still figuring these things out.
I’m also beginning this blog to document the process, because as a writer I often think things out best on the page/screen, and partly because I think my process might be interesting for others who are changing careers, thinking about becoming a chaplain, taking part in a rite of passage or a vision fast, or thinking about death and life.
That’s the end and the beginning of BeginningMiddleEnd.