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Relax Or Jump Into New Activity?


Cliff Dweller
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Hi - I've just withdrawn from all my churchy activities. What's the best thing to do in this first post-church period - have a rest and chill out, or get straight into finding new activities? The guy on the following link seems to recommend taking it slowly: http://www.losingmyreligion.com/essays/nowwhat.html

 

I'm terrified I'll go back, like I did once before after a year's break from church. I got a bit 'down' then (it was also the year my youngest child left home for uni) and I went back to church because I felt so empty. I've been involved for over 20 years (I'm in my 50s) and it's going to mean practically starting a new life... I'm not terribly outgoing but I reckon I can do it if I have to. It's complicated by the fact that my husband, also an atheist, is a church organist (I know, weird) so his Sunday and social life revolves round his church and choir.

 

Also I got bad nostalgia for some things about the church. The Catholic Church (which I belonged to) is very beautiful in some ways (all that music, incense, ritual) as well as the social justice things that it does. Such a shame the beliefs are so crazy.

 

I'd love to hear how you got on in your immediate first post-Christian period, how you paced it. (I'm English, by the way.)

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It depends. I would say if you're an introvert, then ease yourself into new activities slowly. If you're an extrovert, then probably jumping right in would help. I've been a member of a Star Trek club since college, and I joined a gaming group for a while (role-playing) and a writing group.

 

I ended up leaving the writing group because they were all older people who were religious and talked about religious and new age stuff more than the writing stuff, and the GM of the role-playing group ended up moving for a new job.

 

I've signed up for an art class and a writing class this winter and I'm hoping that'll be good. I've been looking for a new gaming group, but not having much luck.

 

As for ritual things, you could always try burning incense and doing non-religious meditation at home, if you think that would help.

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I'd say wait and see for a little while. If you find yourself enjoying some time off, stick with it. If you are restless and not having anything to do is making you unhappy, start hunting down some new activities.

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It's been three years since I've been to church with any regularity, two years since I've been to any church aside from one visit to a UU. I was one of those Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday night, get involved in everything kind of christians too. I have yet to fill that time I spent in church with anything except time with my family and sleeping in on Sunday mornings.

 

My wife and I are beginning to want to get involved with in some kind of group though. We may go back to the UU church for the social aspect of it. Not sure what else we can get involved in around here.

 

I would say take it slow, and enjoy the newfound time you have, just doing whatever. Don't burden yourself with new commitments.

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I would say, maybe start out slow and find one group and then go from there... I am a mix of being introverted and extroverted... I hate big social groups.. but like going out in small groups and being around people.. I also love to spend time by myself and actually have enjoyed living by myself most of the time.

 

It has been years since I have been involved in the church... basically this summer and fall I realized that it was time to not even bother trying to go ever few months.. I have also known that I do need to get more involved and doing more things other than working shopping and my crazy family which I don't see that often and have been trying to find my other passions in life..

 

I have taken up another hobby, which I do a group thing once a week with.. but I need to get more interessts in someting outside of a church community. So I think I am just going to have to get busy and involved in other things... I plan to join the local humanist chapter and see if that is interessting.. and perhaps a book club and I'll have to think of something else fun to do...I also need to get involved in something where there are nice single guys...not holding my breathe on that one but I really do need to make more friends and aquantinces who aren't xian..

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I'm with you, truth. I know I have to make some friends who aren't Christian who are IRL. I have a couple who aren't (they are also ex-c's who deconverted, but haven't posted on this board) but most of my friends are Christian. There are times when I feel surrounded by Christians. It's definitely a downer.

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I agree that you should take it slow at first and see how things go. If you find that you are missing the activities then I'd volunteer somewhere. There are various organizations that would love the help.

 

I love dogs so I volunteer at an animal shelter. We have various positions that would suit either extroverts or introverts. Those that work as adoption counselors meet with the public so have more of an extroverted nature. Those that are introverts tend to provide care giving duties where they interact very little with the public but one on one with the animals. Our kennel has morning and evening shifts 7 days a week for caregiving and afternoon shifts 4 days a week and all day on Saturday and Sunday for adoptions. You can volunteer as little or as much as you want.

 

Since giving up church I've been able to go in on Sunday mornings when we have been short on caregivers although my usual time is Sunday evening. I also do some of the office functions for volunteer scheduling which doesn't require any interaction with the dogs or cats and can be done from home.

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Guest sawitch

Hi Cliff Dweller,

 

Like you I'm English and in my 50s. I'm going to make the break from church this coming year and have been wondering what to do with myself. Why not have a think about the things you are interested in and then find out how you can pursue these interests? I decided to do this and have already made some progress.

 

I've been involved in singing and playing in a brass band in church and will really miss those activities. I joined a choral group (not church based) a few years ago and have been looking around for a band I can join. I've also decided to spend more time doing cross stitch and jigsaws. (boring maybe, but I find it relaxing)

 

I've embarked on a new phase in life as I now have a grandson and my children are threatening to keep me busy over the next few years with babysitting!

 

Above all don't look at what you're missing but seize the opportunity to have new experiences, make new friends and enjoy your life.

 

Good Luck!!

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Thanks All

 

I really appreciate your replies - great to have your tips and hear your experiences. I'm not going to scare myself by rushing into too much activity, but equally not going to get too lonely like I did last time I tried to leave. I think it's about being pulled two ways - wanting to fill the gap left by church, but terrified of 'joining' (and feeling trapped in) some other group.

 

I love walking and there are lots of guided walks and hiking groups where I live, so I'm going to try some of them out. Am also going back to an exercise class and have signed up for a natural history evening course. Wish me luck!

 

I feel a bit rotten tonight as I've had two really kind emails from church people, and all that stuff about 'should I/shouldn't I have' is churning round a bit ...

 

Happy New Year to you, hope 2007 will be a good one for you

 

Cliff Dweller

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Hi Cliff Dweller,

 

Like you I'm English and in my 50s. I'm going to make the break from church this coming year and have been wondering what to do with myself. Why not have a think about the things you are interested in and then find out how you can pursue these interests? I decided to do this and have already made some progress.

 

I've been involved in singing and playing in a brass band in church and will really miss those activities. I joined a choral group (not church based) a few years ago and have been looking around for a band I can join. I've also decided to spend more time doing cross stitch and jigsaws. (boring maybe, but I find it relaxing)

 

I've embarked on a new phase in life as I now have a grandson and my children are threatening to keep me busy over the next few years with babysitting!

 

Above all don't look at what you're missing but seize the opportunity to have new experiences, make new friends and enjoy your life.

 

Good Luck!!

 

 

Good to hear from you! - It's nice to get a reply from someone my own age and nationality.

 

I hope the next stage goes well for you - you sound as if you've plenty of things to fill your time and have made some positive plans. You're right about not looking back - I'll try to remember that.

 

Take care

 

Cliff Dweller

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