When is it too late to begin reflecting upon one’s circumstances and choices? Do we already do that daily, and does the length of rumination engaged depend upon where one’s station in life has reached? Do old men and squeaky rocking chairs justify such reflective modes of behavior, or do the young as well take the time to ponder upon choices made, circumstances encountered, and the spectrum of clashes in between?
Do we formulate a fauna of false representations of ourselves, and depict upon the screen of a mind’s inner movie of the “self” with edited versions so that, when queried, we can make those “bad mistakes” of past choices appear to fit into circumstances where we can innocently declare, “I had no other choice!”? We “make the bed we lie in”; suffer from the “messes we make of our lives”; or of what other adage or declarative falsehoods may we come up with to excuse our own choices in life’s travail of valleys full of mournful echoes?
Circumstances often dictate the choices we make; or, at least the metaphor of “dictation” leads us to believe. For, the very idea of “X dictates Y” as in the previous statement, “Circumstances dictate the choices we make”, removes us of the responsibility in making the choice, by making it appear as if the choice made is not really a choice at all, but merely an action that is necessitated and you are therefore merely an unwilling agent.
What is lost in such discourse, of course, is the lengthy history of sub-choices previously presented and ignored, where choices that could have been made before circumstances became so dire that the narrowing of alternatives dissipated until a crisis point came to the fore — that is where circumstances and choices require careful analysis before the alternative juncture of varying pathways disappear.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is important to early on recognize the circumstances unfolding and the choices presented, before the multitude of “forks in the road” begin to disappear, and life’s circumstances begin to impose — not binary choices — but choices that begin to dictate.
Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not seem like a choice that one wants to undertake, but it is often the circumstances that one has no control over that dictates the future course of choices, and not the choices themselves.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire