It cannot be by counting wrinkles, or the number of gray hairs; for, some people never develop them, and in any event, new methodologies of plastic surgery, hair dyes and other cosmetic creativities can easily override such superficial eruptions of telltale signs. Photographs can no longer be evidence of aging, for airbrushing and digital modifications can dispense with such irritating characteristics.
But when there is a personal encounter, how can one judge, and fairly and accurately assess? Is it the eyes? That “window to one’s soul” — does it reveal a depth of depravity over time, such that the hollowness revealed in innocence at an early age is replaced by a coldness and cynicism of reflective hurts? And of the greater age — of this epoch, the generation and historicity of time; how does one know it, too? Older generations tend to cling to the past, and it is through that prism of past time that the present is viewed, the future foreseen; but does such a perspective differ from those who are young and never experienced the discomfort of lack? And medical conditions and their impact upon one’s ability and capacity to continue a career — how does one know? The subtlety of warnings can be non-decipherable when asked to describe in words.
For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, it is fairly early on that one has a sense of where one’s career will be going. Doctors can talk about surgical intervention and medical regimens and their supposed efficacy in treating a condition; but in the end, the Federal or Postal employee who experiences the medical condition itself, knows in one’s proverbial “heart of hearts” whether the Federal or Postal employee will be able to continue in one’s career.
Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a process which is daunting, and thereby delay of diligence is often a factor which is merely engaged despite having known for some time. It is like guessing the age — whether of another person, or of the historicity of being a stranger in a strange land — it is the subtlety of telltale signs which reveals the future course of an already-determined process of inevitability. And like aging itself, the fight we pretend to engage is merely an act of futility, and we know it; we just don’t want to look in the mirror and face it, lest those lines of time show us who we are, what we did, and where we are going.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire