In some ways, retirement has been good for me, while in others I tend to struggle with the lack of urgency that generally accompanies most of those things we do for work. I don’t think I ever realized it, but for my entire work career I worked with the constant background hum of tension. In retrospect, it is clear that the emotional state one must cultivate in order to go do those tasks we’ve chosen as our means of acquiring gelt is one of mild, constant fear, a legacy of our past, of living in a world of constant danger. This fear, a very base emotion, is present merely to provide us with motivation to act against our better instincts, and instead bow to societal and cultural pressure to channel those instincts into some sort of civilized form of hunting for sustenance, like, say, as a graphic artist working for an ad agency, or as a secretary, or almost any damn thing we as a species have evolved as sublimated replacements for the hunting arts we no longer need.
Some of us, such as yours truly, develop the art of making long, complicated, run-on sentences to give the impression that language and letters are my weapons of choice in the battle for survival in today’s complex world of the future. Whether this weapon serves me well, or not, I suppose it is less challenging than learning to survive in the wild.
Now that I’ve reached that point in life where I’m supposed to “rest on laurels”, I find myself instead to be restless. After 46 years or so of working at one job or another, I got used to that little bit of fear that was always there to give me the back-story, the motivating factor that got me up and out the door every day to go do…whatever I was doing at the time. Cooking, serving, writing, wrestling, therapizing (I made it up), or any of the other hats I wore, all had that basic, clinging fear of failure that went along with them, giving me that little squirt of adrenaline to get me going.
I’ve found that in retirement, one has to re-learn the skill of providing impetus out of our own store of rationales. Without prior knowledge of this (yes, another thing that got left out of the manual), it can turn into a harrowing experience, fraught with possibilities for failure in totally new areas of endeavor, and exasperating in its elusiveness.
I would guess that in at least one respect I have a slight advantage over many folks, rooted in my life-long love of reading and learning. Change, in and of itself, is not fearful to me; it can be frustrating, and sudden, and totally bizarre, but it doesn’t make me afraid, just tired. I’m learning, slower perhaps than I might otherwise prefer, but learning nonetheless, how to maintain my equilibrium living under a completely new set of rules. I may be an old dog, but I ain’t dead yet……
Well, there you have it…..another flight through fancy, holding court with a congress of ravens, all of whom look at me with dark, beady eyes, and all in harmony, squawk out, “Nevermore!”……now I know why Edgar Allen was so flipped; they’re scary little buggers……hope y’all enjoy today’s Pearls as much as I enjoyed the process of finding them…..
“$100 invested at 7% interest for 100 years will become $100,000, at which time it will be worth absolutely nothing.” — Lazarus Long, “Time Enough for Love”
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” — Buddha
A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
— Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
— Essay on Criticism, Part ii, Line 15
“The function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it invites a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger.” — former US Supreme Court Justice William Douglas
The value of knowledge lies not in its accumulation, but in its utilization.
“A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.” — James Joyce, “Ulysses”
I thought for a bit that today’s group would be a good message, but I couldn’t quite find a thread that tied them all together into a package with a nice little bow. Ah well, another time….you get away lucky today…… y’all take care out there….
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.