yesterday was one of the first times in a really long time that i nearly had an anxiety attack. it was wet and nothing was going right and i was soaked and had just gotten to work and was dropping a bunch of things and i was late because i had to run an errand for another coworker so i wasn’t getting completely informed about the change in the day’s schedule and i started stuttering and my throat got all tight.

and it’s funny when you realize that the reason you’ve felt so serene lately actually has less to do with personal growth than with your life just being more serene lately. and the way that cracks when things start to crack.

***

i had my second clearness committee for membership this past week, and it went a whole lot better. it did feel deeper in ways i don’t know how to describe, and i just felt more settled in my decision.

robin asked me if maybe i’d been experiencing buyer’s remorse. i’ve been thinking about that, and i still think the answer is no. for me, whenever i’ve experienced actual buyer’s remorse, it’s been a case of “okay, why did i just spend x amount of scarce resources on this? what was i thinking?” and what happened, i don’t think was about scarcity or a mistake in that sort of way.

i think if i was going to turn it into a shopping analogy, it would be more like looking through ads for computers. and they each have their list of specifications. and a lot of them are like “CHOCK FULL OF THIS ONE FEATURE!” and being like, “um… i’m not totally sure if my computer needs that one feature…” and deciding on one that does have that feature, but it’s not so much in the advertising. and so then, i spend a year studying this computer and learning more about it and also that one feature. and realizing that i kind of like that one feature and how it works with that particular computer. and so then, i’m standing at the counter with my money ready to buy this actual computer, and suddenly i remember that i’m okay with that one feature, and i’ve just spent all my energy studying this one computer and now that i’m okay with this feature, should i go back and delve into those other computers?

(the feature being christianity.)

***

the other thing is that thanks to allison, we’re working on starting a young adult group for our meeting. and i’m excited about it in theory, but a little freaked out about it in practice. a lot because i’ve really treasured having quakerism be a place in my life to have grown-up friends. and a lot because somehow because of being part of the meeting for a little over a year now, i’m a sort of resident expert, and i am really really not. there was a moment in my clearness committee where i was asked about helping to clarify other young people’s questions about quakerism, and i’m not sure if i’m up for the task. both because i’m not sure if i can do it (i told someone today that it’s like the near-sighted person without their glasses leading the blind), and because i’m not sure if i can do it gracefully. lately i’ve been feeling like a crotchety old man in general, and i guess this is just how i get to learn how to be my own age, and accept my own age, and accept people who are going through things i’m going through, rather than just hanging out with amazing role models. because my peers can be role models, too.

***

the last thing is that i have access to the old site again, so i‘m going to be putting up the old posts. so there will be some new things coming up, but i will be backdating them so they will hopefully be put in correct chronological order. put up all the old posts. i even managed to get the old comments in there, but all as one big block comment from me. but with credit to the names of the people who posted them.

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hi Cubbie,

    I do very much value the intergenerational thing. I just noticed that our Meeting actually was kind of dominant on the elders and scarce on the youngers and I wanted to (oh this is getting boring now) BALANCE it out. 🙂

    I can’t speak for all young Quakers but I can make statements about observing my friends who aren’t Quakers and what I need/want from my elders and Quakerism. I want a spiritual community that will encourage growth but not point out how small I am. I want the closeness of the small town community I left behind in Armenia with an American openmindedness. I want a society that strives to be Heaven on earth, since the rest of the world is so out of control.

    I have to constantly remind myself that utopia on earth doesn’t exist, people aren’t perfect, and that I can’t always have my way. I am grateful you are working on the young adult group with me because I’m even more myopic than you probably. I think it will all work out okay as long as we DO seek guidance from our elders and also state point-blank that we have no idea and so are open, we just know that it’s important. I think we are at least critical thinkers, compassionate and willing to change and be changed, and want everyone to get along peacefully. That is a good start.

  2. I have done a lot of trusting that my ignorance can be a gift to my meeting since I started serving on our Ministry and Worship committee! There’s so much basic stuff about Quaker life and about our meeting that I don’t know, and there are times I feel pretty slow. But the fact that I don’t get it, sometimes makes the rest of the committee slow down and explain it, and I can see that at least some of the time, that is helpful to more members than me. I am trying to strike a balance: I want to avoid between yielding to the compulsion to remind everyone how little I know as an annoying little verbal tick, and yet I do want to keep acknowledging my limits and not trying to hide them or try to seem wiser than I am.

    It’s a pretty good exercise in integrity! But I think it has been good for my committee, and I know it has been good for me. Maybe your own work with young adult Friends will work a little like that?

    And on the subject of anxiety–don’t forget the possibility that, though “the reason you’ve felt so serene lately actually has less to do with personal growth than with your life just being more serene lately,” your life may be more serene in part because of personal growth: living more simply, not focusing on appearances, or whatever. Plus, it’s a good idea to look at the overall direction of a thing. If your life has felt more serene lately, a few days that feel like the Bad Old Days don’t actually wipe out the many days that don’t. It’s easy to fear slipping back into a depression or anxiety or whatever, but it’s important to notice what you’re doing right, so you’ll be encouraged to keep doing it.

    I do get the feeling from your blog that you do an awful lot right. Hopefully, you see that, too. (In other words, don’t sell yourself short… 🙂 )

  3. Oooh, I want to know how you like If God Is Love. I thought it was pretty good and I would love to have the authors come and give a talk at our meeting some time.

    My feeling about our first clearness committee meeting was that I felt giddy. Not just light-hearted but light-headed, a little. The second one felt deeper. More worship helped.

    I’m looking forward to the upcoming business meetings.

  4. allison– i think a quaker idea is that the kingdom of heaven CAN be on earth, and god is helping us fumble along into figuring out how to bring that about. i loved chatting with you today, and was reminded of the values of our idealism in addition to our respect for our elders and stuff.

    cat– you always say the sweetest things. thank you. i had a thought similar to yours about how i’m working hard on keeping the drama out of my life. but it just leaves me so wide open in some ways to when things are not sailing along calmly. the perk of courting drama is that you’re always coping (also the drawback). but i think i’m doing pretty okay. i think i just got reminded that i can’t get too smug. *laughs*

    robin– i really like it so far. it’s my “carry around and read a little bit each day” book right now (as opposed to the “keep at home and read a little bit each day” books, and the “carry around and read at a less contemplative speed” books, and the “keep at home and read sorta sometimes” books and the “i started reading it and i will read more later, but am not currently reading” books– all of which are currently listed on my goodreads page). it’s one of those books that gives some nice “yes and”s to thoughts i’ve had. thank you for your part in those meetings, and woohoo for future laborings together about serious things. or something. 🙂


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