Since it is almost my birthday and because my spiritual direction peer group is reading Living Fully, Dying Well by Edward W. Bastian and Tina L. Staley, I am thinking of my life in stages. For the latter group, we filled out a form dividing our life into 7-year increments, documenting “significant moments,” then “people who guided and influenced me,” and ending with the question, “What did this phase contribute to the continuum of my life?” This was a life Review Exercise devised by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi.
For today’s Friday Five, I am suggesting that we each divide our age into 5 sections. You don’t have to say your age or ages for the different parts, unless you want to. In each of the 5 points, please describe a memorable and/or significant event, either good or unpleasant.
1. Ages birth to 12 years
Probably the biggest event in my life during this phase was the birth of my little brother when I was five. I was an only child, pretty strong-willed and not so much into sharing. I remember very clearly the night he was born. I was spending the night with family friends and Sue Ellen, the mom, woke me up from my sleep to tell me that my dad was on the phone. I went to the phone and I remember him saying, “Hi Tiffy. You have a little brother and his name is Todd!” I remember mumbling something like, “ok, great.” and then hanging up the phone and staggering back to the couch to sleep. I also remember very much wanting to help take care of him and lugging him around.
2. Ages 12 – 17
During this phase I went to work. My parents were business owners so I started working after school and during summers to earn some cash. I also went through the awkward junior high years, relatively unscathed, and then 2 weeks before I started high school I got my braces off and got contacts. It was kind of a confidence boost. I also had my first real boyfriend during this time. We broke up a month or so before my senior year. Then a few weeks later my parents’ marriage imploded and my mom got really sick and nearly died.
3. Ages 17-26
This was probably the awkward stage I was meant to have in middle school. This was a blur of growing up too fast, yet there was a profound immaturity to my choices. I went to college, parents split, I moved to the east coast, parents reconciled, I moved back, finished college, had a ridiculously bad relationship, first stint in therapy, moved out of the parents’ house, got my first real church job. Probably the biggest moment was at a Willow Creek Leadership Conference singing Shout To The Lord (It had just come out) and crying and being so grateful that after so many bad choices, God still wanted me to be in ministry.
4. Ages 26 – 34
At age 26 I moved to California, and ultimately San Francisco. I went to seminary and graduated at 29 or 30, somewhere in there, had a couple church jobs, couple “civilian” jobs, got screwed royally, more in churches than in the public & private sector jobs. I lost some friends I thought I would not lose. I made so many more than I deserve.
5. Ages 34 – present (that’s 39, but who’s counting?)
The last 5 or so years have been more settled for me. I’ve found a church that is really wonderful and fits what I believe church should be. I started working for my current company and I really love it. It’s allowed me to explore my passions and really figure out what it is I want to spend most of my days doing. I’m kind of closer to being an adult, I think, than I ever have been. I have my own apt, no roommate, still have great friends, close to the family, all good.