FREEDOM’S NOT JUST ANOTHER WORD
More freedom, is scary especially when you are losing some at the same time. More freedom in the sense of now being able to spent my time doing more of what I want to do and losing it in the sense of the inevitable decline in my physical/psychological ability to do what ever that is.
I’ve been slowing retiring for several years now. You could say I should be grateful for this gradual retirement, a soft landing into the inevitable rocking chair on the porch scenario as others have been dropped there hard with much less warning and little chance to prepare, No, I’m not grateful; I’d have to be grateful to someone, wouldn’t I?
No one did this to/for me because they wanted me to have it easy. Those who participated in my retirement did so because of greed. they did it because they’ll make more money with me, among many others, not in their employ. My former employers, and zero-sum libertarians in general, still begrudge me every penny I still get, no matter the source.
So what should I do? Go all Zen, perhaps, cease and forget desiring what is gone and won’t be coming back, as well as what never was? No, I will try to reflect on what the good and bad episodes of my life but not wallow in them. I’ll try to use those recollections of paths taken, voluntarily or not, wisely and ill-informed, and dead-ended or rewarding as a map for where to go next.
For example, I know I will never have a career again. No more can I live in the persistent illusion of my youth where I thought I could make a living doing what I valued and was valued by others. Nor can I again compromise—just make a living—and sell my soul to corporate devils, as that they’ll never again make me another offer, they’ve got plenty of others who’ll work cheaper.
Neither will I “love” again, if I ever did in the first place, that is. My marriages were not “as seen on TV” i.e. like mom and dad’s. My marriages were convenient arrangements for love to grow in. It never did, and soon enough the exes found better deals. Marriage, for me anyway, like career, was an illusion, but it was a less persistent ones. I will still “love” friendships, family and rice-crispie treats, though.
“So dude, quit it with the anger, we get it,” says my internal therapist, “you are not an entrepreneur, a celebrity, a sociopath, so you will never thrive in the 21st century.” And as for love, you haven’t a clue about what works there and never will. Kids these days (people under 50 or so) might think they have the answers about career and marriage; as you thought you did when you were their age. Maybe they do. But whether they do or don’t, they know they don’t want to hear you whining, so just stop it.
Sorry kids, I don’t think I will, Yes, career is lost and “love” was never found—the American dream versions anyway. While over the course of a quarter century I have slowly come to believe it is pointless to keep chasing those mirages, I’m still going to draw, write and blog about their persistence and that of others like them like art and democracy. Why? Because, quite unlike marriage and career, doing all that is rewarding whether anyone else gets involved.