Thursday, July 12, 2007

NPR - Feeling old and guilty

I've written a few times about this, and so it's an ever-present feeling in the back of my mind, buried deep in my psyche to sneak into the forefront of the day now and then. And this is part of the Dysthymia I've had throughout my life. It kinda' hangs out in the corners and recess of my spirit and soul. So, why today?

Well, for one I spent the early hours going to Starbucks for newspapers and coffee, and onward to the other small errands of the day. We've all seen these older people on our days off when we worked who have the day to themselves and we've all wished there will be a day we can become one of them. To be free of work and have time to ourselves. I discovered that in January 2006 after retiring from the USGS December 31, 2005. It was a decision made over a year before and I waited, as the saying goes, for that moment to arrive, and in my case, what my supervisor had planned for the next 1-3 years.

I had originally planned to retire December 2008 when I thought I could afford it, but in the fall of 2004 I attended a retirement workshop - recommended and often mandatory for those within five years of retirement - and discovered I had miscalculated my annuity. I then went through the calculation three different ways including have our HR office and OPM calcuate it. And all three came within $20 of my calculation. So the date was upped to 2005 if I choose, and made after an August 2005 meeting with my boss.

And I did. And it's been thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile. I highly recommend it, to start a new career. And my guilt? Well, it's for all those people I see working. And while I'm working on a second career, the difference is mine now is personal, and I'm my own boss. And that's the guilt, that I can have this opportunity while seeing many others not have the same shot in life. But then I realize people do make their own choices in life, at least within the framework presented them.

And part of my guilt is reading the news about all these retirees losing their pensions, health insurance and so on. I made a choice to work for the federal government. I took the hit in salary for the longterm goal and plan of the retirement benefits. And while my annuity won't make me rich, I can manage it to have a decent life. And my health insurance is guarranteed as it's part of the employee plan for all active and retired federal employees.

I doubt I'll ever resolve the guilt issue, and many times I just set it aside and go about my life. As for being old, that's the reality of being. My attempts at an exercise program has been periods of good and bad. The body just isn't young and adaptive anymore. Like this is a revelization? No, but it's new to me growing old and having the bits and pieces have problems, some from my genes I've known all my life, and some new.

I know to some people this is a big, "Huh?", like they haven't had their share, some more, of physical problems in the life. And for you I apologize. Despite being active at work and life, I've been lucky with injuries, all small and short-lived. Now, however, even the small ones are small or short-lived anymore. And the genetic problems are catching up to me as I push myself to become fitter and healthier. And yes, it's obvious and normal, but only to me when I retired and it's sometimes the reality of my being.

"What?", you ask, or not. In January I banged my elbow and pulled a ligament in my left elbow attached to a bone. It's taken 6 months to get it back to near normal, and just when it was fine for most things I banged my right elbow and did the same thing with that elbow. So now, it's another 6 months of mild pain in the forearm holding and grabbing things. Small things like that where age hampers the recovery. Just one of the many small things that happen.

Anyway, it's just passing thoughts in a life in a new life and second career. And I get to listen to all the music and NPR whenever I want, and best of all, take naps.

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