Sunday, October 22, 2006

There's Always A Milestone

Last year I was 39 for most of the year and reflecting on turning 40. Where was I in life? How did I get there, when should I schedule my first eye-lift, blah blah blah.

This year is my tenth in the parish ministry. I feel like I started this work yesterday , so it's hard to believe I'll have completed a decade as a "Rev." as of June 14, 2007. Therefore, this is also a year to reflect: what has this all meant? Will it always be this intense? If it wasn't, would I find it as fulfilling? How have I changed? Am I touching lives in a good way? And so on and so on.

As I was considering refinancing my graduate school loan the other day (anyone want to donate $31K to The Cause?), I thought about committing to a 20-year payback period. I'm 40, I'll be 60 then and still working, it makes sense (God willing my health permits and the crick don't rise in the form of the market crashing or other unforeseen circumstance). I was cleaning the house while thinking about this issue and I just stopped dead in my tracks. TWENTY YEARS 'TIL I'M SIXTY.

I thought, holy holy cow, girl, you had better pace yourself. You've thought nothing of serving a congregation full time, teaching, working on a doctorate, pretty constantly coming up with new program ideas for your congregation, being a very counseling-centered pastor, writing two blogs, engaging in activism on a pretty regular basis (although not on an impressive basis), busting your butt trying to be a consistently strong preacher and worship leader, doing denominational work, and keeping one foot in the theatre and music worlds. That's fine for now, but is it fair to expect this level of activity for another 20 years? No one else will expect it of you, but will you expect it from you?

So today in church when we sang,

Guide my feet
while I run this race
For I don't want to run this race in vain...

Boy, was I feeling it.


Anonymous Philocrites said...

I'm going to go into denial about aging for the moment and restrict myself to the student debt issue:

If you're still eligible to consolidate your loans as a way to refinance them, I'd say do it -- but only if you intend to pay off a 20-year debt in 10. Otherwise the longer run of interest will cost you gobs of money and make a lot of your money unavailable for retirement investments.

Incidentally, Mrs Philocrites is much smarter about these things than I am. She has even read books on the subject! ;)

Blogger PeaceBang said...

That was the plan, Stan. If that monkey's not off my back in ten years I'm going to be highly irritated. The good news it that my purely intuitive, hunch-based method for choosing mutual funds for retirement savings has yielded higher returns this year than my financial advisor had for any of her clients this year. She was ECSTATIC. I was like, "12% is good?It is?"

Blogger The Eclectic Cleric said...

Hey PB! Yesterday (10/22) was my 50th B-day, and last June 7th the 25th anniversary of my ordination. Long ago paid off my Div School loans, as well as the small loan I took out for my PhD. And I agree with Philocrites: consolidate if you can and pay off early. Sunday I preached for the 575th time in my career (that I can document - there may well have been a few others which are now deservedly forgotten); manuscript should be on the website in another day or two. And I've been blogging on and off about these milestones for the last six months. Looking forward to seeing you in NYC @ Revival 2006 in a couple of weeks. I'm offering two workshops there too: Friday: "Is there any future in a usable past?" and Saturday: "What 1st Century Christianity can teach 21st Century Christians." I promise to dress a little better than usual (leaving the red trousers home. Honest)....

Blogger CK said...

Just saw this. You mean I have to pay it off?!?! I can't just defer by staying a student?




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