For those of you who don't know, Chris and I are in the final year of our 3 1/2 year contract with Maryknoll Lay Missioners. Our contract is up in May 2015, at which time we can renew for another 3 years, extend for a shorter period of time, or move on to something else entirely. Although 10 months is a long time away, it also seems like it's just around the corner and we've noticed lately that an increased number of people are asking us about our next steps.
On the outset, I totally understand why people are asking. Folks at home want to know if they'll be seeing our faces at next year's Fourth of July BBQs, birthday parties, births of their children, etc. Folks in Tanzania are asking because they want to know if they should include us in their organizational budgets, if we'll be able to continue proving support to their programs, and they too want to know if they'll be the ones seeing our faces at BBQs, birthday parties, etc. So I totally get it. Y'all are so sweet and we totally appreciate your love and support.
On the flip side of things, when I get asked what I'll be doing next year I want to ask back to people what they'll be doing in 10 months. The answer is that they probably don't know. I assume most people hope to be in a job that they like, living in a city that they like, surrounded by people that they like and who like them, but usually people don't plan that far in advanced so the specifics are yet unclear. Can't we just live life in the moment, I want to say, without planning what's around the next corner.
I know. I know. That's kinda a jerky response.
And it's not exactly true, anyway. I mean, don't get me wrong. Chris and I talk about it all the time. All. The. Time. Every day. Ad nauseam. And, come to think of it, maybe that's why I get a little twitchy when people ask me what we're doing next. Because we've talked ourselves into so many ideas that we. have. absolutely. no. clue. And it starts to stress me out. I mean, I'm in my mid(some say late, thankyouverymuch)-30's and my life is still up in the air. This was stressful enough when I was graduating college and I felt like I could do anything I wanted to do. I had the energy then. And seemingly endless time. Now? I don't know. I feel the clock ticking and the lack of direction seems to me more like a weight then an opportunity.
What I can tell you is this. Yes, our contract is up in May 2015. Yes, we have started to talk about what we will do. Yes, we are open to staying in Tanzania, or to moving back to the United States, or to living in Europe. That doesn't narrow it much, does it? Our decision is based on a number of things ranging from finances, family health/stability, our ability to adopt a child, and location of an appropriate job for our interests and skills. Some of these things can be planned for, but most of them can't be predicted until much closer to our end-of-contract date. So it's mostly a waiting game for now.
And speaking of waiting games. Although I think it's absolutely appropriate and wise to start discussing and researching our next steps, in all fairness to Tanzania and the life we have now, I think it's also vitally important for us to continue to enjoy where we are now and give our all to the work we are doing at the moment. That's very hard when we're also simultaneously thinking about, researching, and, okay I'll admit, fantasizing about our next move. We fell into this trap before when we were planning to come to Tanzania. It's really hard to live and enjoy the moment when we are waiting for the next change. But I'm not really sure how to do that gracefully.
So for now, I'll try to steer clear of snarky remarks. (Is that possible for me?) And I'll keep asking for support, prayers, and listening ears from family and friends near and far. And we'll just see what opportunities arise around the corner.