It is a peculiarly human endeavor to reflect upon and ruminate; to consider that which has not yet occurred, and to worry about it, turn it over, consider the options, become so ensconced in the details of that which is still yet to become, if at all, and to will anxiousness and even harm one’s health over it.
Does the dog that one has known for many years engage in such conceptual angst, and project one’s self towards a time yet to become? Well, yes — there can be a similar sense of anticipation; of prefatory behavior in response to an approaching hour. If, on every Sunday at noon a tremendous noise is heard, dogs and other animals can be ‘trained’ into becoming anxious for several hours before the event, and act accordingly.
Is that merely an inculcated imprint, or is there some lengthy thought process — reflection, rumination or anticipatory consternation — involved in the anxious behavior exhibited? Is there a distinction to be made in the manner in which human beings behave towards future uncertainty, or is the difference merely one of degrees? Does our capacity towards an insular universe, self-contained within thoughts and boundless tangential roads that lead to greater depths of despair and self-inflicted despondency differ from the trained responses as exhibited by other species? Or, is our capacity simply of “more”, and the extent of our means merely one of exponential exhibitionism?
Future uncertainty — what is it? Is it a learned response or a human peculiarity of untold evolutionary need? How does one engage in it, and are there better coping mechanisms than others? Does life’s experiences grant any reprieve, or are we all subjected to its devastating effects? Do the wealthy experience it in the same manner, or does it merely take an extremely selfish personality — one that cares nothing for others and thus feels no sense of obligation in forestalling any belief in future doom that may befall family members — to avoid the angst of foreboding tides?
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have that sense of future uncertainty because of a medical condition that has begun to prevent the performance of one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the obvious antidote to such feelings is to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.
Yes, the future may appear uncertain at this moment; yes, the sense of not knowing gives a recognition of anxiousness that seems never-ending; and no, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application is not the answer to all problems presented. However, it is at least a start — to refocusing one’s attention to the priorities of life’s foundational precepts: of health and in securing some semblance of a future yet to be determined, but to be anticipated not with a foreboding sense of gloom, but of a tomorrow that may yet promise a day after.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire