The title comes, of course, from that classic 1985 movie, and depicts the idea of being able to go back to the past while yet retaining the knowledge of a future unforgotten. Within the possibility of that paradigm, could the future be altered, or does the past that one thinks one is going back to already account for the presence of the person who goes back, and thus does the future remain within the rigidity of the unchanged past impervious to the arrogant thought that the future could be modified by the mere presence of one who goes back to the future thinking that the future could be changed?
The concept itself is a unique twist upon the creativity of human thought — not of time-travel into the future, but where the future as “now” is taken into the past, but with the retention of the “now” taken with us, thus becoming no longer a “now” but a future knowledge merely because one goes back into the past.
From whence does such an idea originate? Is it our yearnings that begin to percolate in old age, when regrets seep beyond the borders of mere wistful thoughts and find their tug-and-pull upon our consciences? Is it to try and make up for all the stupidity that has prevailed in the bumpy road of growing up, where mistakes made were forced upon family and friends who had the compassion and empathy to carry us through our troubled times? Do regrets uncorrected plague our later years more than when youth betrayed the lack of character shown so brazenly when weeping mothers and shuddering fathers kept their silence during those terrible years of want and waste?
To go back to the future is but a yearning to correct mistakes left in forlorn corners of regretful memories, and for Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition is beginning to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the time is “now” to begin to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Going back to the future is not an option; the medical condition is with us now, and it is precisely the “now” which must be dealt with in order to prepare for an uncertain future.
Certainly, it would be nice to “go back” — back before our careers were impacted; back before the medical condition became chronic and intractable; and back before this mess called “life’s trials” began to prevent us from performing the essential elements of our jobs. But it is only in the movies where the past can be corrected; in reality, going back to the future means that we must now proceed with caution to correct the mistakes and malfunctions of life in the context of today’s reality, and not yesterday’s regrets.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire
Federal Disability Retirement Attorney