There is a recognition — born of the enlightenment period in American History referred to merely as “The Sixties” — when a cultural adage was created, which went something like: “Age is not the sequence of years, but of a state of mind”. Yes, those “Sixties” will one day be looked upon by historians and cultural commentators as that likened to “The Renaissance”, or “The Dark Ages”, or perhaps some other hiccup of historical divisions that bifurcates the “before” and “after” of enlightenment, tumultuous alterations and societal-tectonic shifts of some significance.
The Old Man (without the appendage of “and the Sea”, a reference obviously to the classic novel by Hemingway, who somewhat embodied the end of a Pre-Sixties era where machismo, big-game hunting and the “strong, silent type” was replaced with “sensitivity”, environmental protection and therapeutic sharing) is still regarded by an archetype of sticking to old ways, becoming intractable and clinging to conservatism in thought and actions.
Perhaps that is natural — as one degenerates upon a progressive scale of a downward turn, as on a scale of molecular deterioration leading to eventual decay and death — in that vicissitudes of major proportions can only be tolerated well by the young. Yet, there is a truth to that old “Sixties adage”, that one’s attitude towards life in general, responsiveness to stimuli and new experiences, is always important in countering the staid phenomena of old age and becoming old.
Medical conditions, of course, can change everything — all at once. If of physical ailments, one can feel like a young person in a cocoon of ancient origins or, if beset with psychiatric conditions, the disorienting phenomena of psychological trauma can leave one aged while locked into a young body.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it often feels like “the old man (or woman)” has arrived before his or her time. We tend to focus too much upon historical shifts of tectonic proportions, when what really matters is the individual and the compelling narrative of singular lives.
Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not have any great cultural impact upon history’s retrospective purview, but for the individual Federal or Postal employee who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is as important to prepare and formulate an effective OPM Disability Retirement packet as if one is entering a great tectonic shift.
A Federal Disability Retirement application is a significant event in the life of every Federal and Postal employee, and consultation with an attorney is a near “must” in order to get it prepared properly and efficiently. As for “The Old Man (or Woman)” that one is afraid of being tagged as because it is time to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM — leave that up to the cultural and historical commentators; it is individual lives that matter, and not the footnotes which are forgotten within the morass of vague historical references.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire