If you could accomplish just one more thing in your life, what would it be? Is there a particular type of job on your “bucket list?” That’s what I asked myself, and I asked a blessing on my pen and journal as I began writing down what I would love to do in my next job. In the transition workshop, we had said a prayer promising that we would always listen to God’s voice, “even when it sounds like mine.” I interpreted that to mean that God often speaks through the Spirit whispering through my own interests, my own background, my own skill set–my own JOY.

They say that one way to discern the occupation that gives you joy is to picture the type of task you are doing when you lose all track of time; another way is to notice where your feet go in a bookstore. And I reflected on what gave me the most joy in my former careers: designing and teaching ecology, marine biology, and environmental science courses; working as a volunteer water quality monitor for over 25 years; doing nature study; writing and speaking and teaching and learning.

So, feeling a little foolish and presumptuous, I designed my own dream job, and here’s what it looked like: it would involve working full time for the welfare of planet Earth and its people; it would benefit the poor in a very concrete way–especially women and children (in keeping with our community focus); and it would involve research and writing. That done, I put my journal aside with a feeling of regret, thinking that at my age (66) and in my circumstances, I could never find a job like that…