Today will be busy. I have chores to do. Things that must be done before I leave for my three week (or so) trip to California and back. There's that lawn to mow and the bamboo curtain to repair. And packing to be done. Yes, I pack the day before I leave on a trip. Actually, the night before.
That's a new habit, by the way. Packing some time, like a day, before a trip. I always used to pack just before I left. Like an hour before. It's part of the art of procrastination. I plan on explaining about my procrastination. Soon. I promise.
Which brings me to the exchange I just had with Argentum about retirement. He feels he is approaching it and dreads it. I always looked forward to it and welcomed its arrival. Not that I had a bad job, mind you. It was perfect for me. I had no deadlines, no pressure to produce a product on schedule. I spent more time sitting around than I did actually working, it seemed.
The job was primarily troubleshooting problems. Oh, we had some mundane routine busy work we had to do but I could put that off until someone else dealt with it most of the time. Some people like those routine things and I was happy to allow them that pleasure. My joy is in the solving of puzzles and equipment troubles were all puzzles.
Being a procrastinator, and a lazy one, I rarely sought out these troubles. But I never shied away from any either. I would, on occasion, volunteer to take over a problem someone else was having great difficulty resolving. There is nothing quite like the mental orgasm resulting from the solving of a particularly nettlesome, protracted, intermittent trouble. Like an especially strong sneeze... only longer and subtler. Zen practitioners might call it Satori because it starts with that moment of enlightenment when the solution becomes clear.
When I was young, I knew little about retirement. My father never spoke of it, certainly. In fact, he never spoke of it in his entire life. I suspect he did not look forward to it. I think he wanted to work until the day he died. He wanted to be busy all the time. I managed to avoid that gene. Still, when I was growing up, the concept was to find something I would enjoy doing the rest of my life. It was all about your life's work.
Think about it a bit. Fairy tales and folklore always had characters who had some trade and many of these were well into old age. There was never any talk of a "retired tailor" or "retired hunter". No, only old ones and apprentices.
Throughout my youth, I considered what I would like to do that would sustain me and entertain me throughout my life. I thought of art. I liked to draw. I thought I could learn to sculpt. Ah, but I learned that my talents were meager and uninspired. I could not conjure up an idea in my head and translate it onto canvas or even paper, much less carve it out of stone or mold it out of clay. So many others were so much better than I at these things.
I once considered law. After all, I loved to argue. But this would take long term planning, careful preparation, and entailed a responsibility for others' fates. I eventually gave up that dream.
I fell into my career by accident. I needed a job after leaving the Navy, getting married, and moving back to Florida. Someone told me the phone company might be hiring and I applied. I was lucky that they were looking for people to fix problems. It was a perfect match for me.
But it was not a lifetime job. It would not last until I died unless I died relatively young (something I had always hoped to avoid). And I found I enjoyed the downtime, the time I was sitting around reading or chatting with co-workers, as much as I enjoyed troubleshooting.
I had found my niche. I was born to be retired. And now I am.
A Night Unremembered
7 years ago