Is that what we are all striving for? Is the myth that never occurs the one that urges us on? There are multiple idioms and pithy sayings by which “wisdom” is extracted and thought to be a solid foundation for acting and reacting in certain ways. “No one ever says at the end of one’s life, ‘I spent too much time with my kid’”. “Live for tomorrow and you will regret a month of Sundays”. “Time spent at work is time away from family.”
Yes, yes, all of that is true, but one must still make a living, be productive, “make something of one’s self”. That last saying – of essentially having one’s 15-minute moment of fame (that was Andy Warhol’s generation, wasn’t it? Today, it has been shortened by microchips and technological speeds into the milliseconds, so it is no longer applicable) – is what people do, work for, strive to attain and act without shame to achieve; and if so, does that make it all “the worthwhile life”?
What ever happened to those who made it on to some morning show or other, who were interviewed for some act of insanity, some bold moment of fame that captured someone’s imagination somewhere in some unknown sector of a now-forgotten universe?
Recently, there was a “lower-tiered” author who died, who shall remain nameless to maintain a sense of decorum for the dead; and a certain number of books of this now-dead author was obtained, which had been signed and inscribed. Now, the inscriptions were clearly to her children, and were written with a fondness and private display of affection. The question that is naturally posed, however, is as follows: Why were the books, inscribed by a “somewhat known” author to the author’s children with such love shown, sold to a used bookstore? How did they end up there?
From a reader’s perspective, the author may have been deemed a person with a “worthwhile life” – for, to be published, to be well-enough-known, and to produce books that were enjoyed and read; these would, in the eyes of the world, be considered “making a mark upon the world” and deemed to have had a “successful” life. And, yet – the sad fact of the sale of a book, inscribed to the author’s children, sold for a pittance; it harkens back the pithy saying, in whatever form, that “no one ever said on his deathbed, ‘I didn’t work too much’, but there are more than a few who have said with a last gasp, ‘I didn’t spend enough time with my kid’”.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, that is the point, isn’t it – that to “hold on to” one’s job despite the increasingly debilitating medical condition because one considers the Federal or Postal job to define one’s identity as a “worthwhile” person, is mere folly in the scheme of life’s gifts.
Health, and maintaining one’s health, should be fame enough in pursuance of a Federal Disability Retirement case. Let the others in posterity of hope determine whether the worthwhile life has been lived, and by whom, but more importantly, for whom.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire