My latest go-to stress-relieving fantasy is that I’m a Buddhist nun. Living quietly with everything I need. But then I remember that for a variety of reasons I wouldn’t make a very good Buddhist - or any flavor of nun for that matter. Like being a Buddhist and being a pacifist sort of goes hand-in-hand and I’m not a pacifist. You’re probably surprised to hear that the way I criticize war, but I’m only opposed to the aggressor in imperialistic wars (the most common aggressor in my lifetime having been my government). So I’m a warrior, therefore not a very good Buddhist nun.
However, the real reason I’ve been obsessed with becoming a nun is a more personal and complicated story and not the kind of thing I generally share on this blog, but I’ve run out of topics so here goes:
A couple of years ago, I remembered that I had forgotten to go to graduate school, right about the time I had the temporarily devastating realization that my life is half over and so if I have things I mean to do “someday,” someday has arrived. So I applied to a Master’s Program and was rejected. I felt entirely destroyed, like there was nothing else I ever possibly wanted to do but that. Then after a while I got over it (I’m good at that, if nothing else) and applied to two more programs last fall. (I also opened a coffee shop, which is really fun but isn’t making any money yet.) When I applied I thought that I probably wouldn’t get accepted to either one, since I’m obviously such a loser I couldn’t get into the first one I applied to, right? But my thinking was, I will have tried -- and then being a good religious girl (or bad religious girl, whichever) I would accept that God has spoken and it’s just not meant to be in this lifetime.
So now, after living frugally and simply for all of my adulthood, just like the vast majority of regular people who are now being blamed for the financial crisis we’re in as a nation, I’m routinely calculating how long we might get to keep living here if I stopped paying the mortgage, weighing if I’d benefit more from not paying my credit cards (used to open the coffee shop) or from maintaining perfect credit at any cost -- basically living an eighth of a nickel away from debtors prison and working as hard as I can to make money fast enough.
Then what happens? I’ve been accepted to both graduate programs. And I really want to do them both. Because if not now, then when?
What I need is a miracle – and as luck would have it, I believe in miracles. So I’m waiting – breathing in the fear, breathing out relaxation – comforted by my relentless faith in the abundance of the universe and that all things, good and bad, come to an end. Maybe I could have pulled off being a nun after all.