It is what we all strive for; as depicted in cult followings and media outlets, it is a state of representation attained through travels to the Himalayas, or after years of struggling in a Zen monastery (and engaging in Tai chi battles with inept masked ninjas) and gaining unexplainable enlightenment (why couldn’t the same happen in the living room of one’s own home?). The truth is, the mastery of life is merely a mundane affair.
It is where one finds a rhythm within the daily obstacles of life, when recognition of distinguishing between a real “crisis” and an irritating problem is quickly resolved; and how bumbling through problems encountered in youth is replaced by smooth sailing with unruffled feathers in meeting obligations, confronting difficulties and engaging the monotony of daily living.
In the West, just when such a state of quietude is reached, society discards it all and favors youth over the aging, incompetence over experience, and slow but steady progress over fresh “new ideas” (which never are, but the discovery of which young people think they have been the first to encounter, as if the wheel on one’s car is an invention recently revealed). This disregard and (ultimately) disrespect is magnified when a person is beset with a medical condition — precisely because being hit with a medical condition mirrors how treatment of the aged facilitates, but only at an exponentially quickened pace.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical conditions, such that the medical condition begins to impact the performance of one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties within the Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, this phenomena becomes a daily occurrence.
For years, we accumulate and derive the experience of plenitude and glean through trial and error, attaining a state of wisdom aggregated within the confines of one’s skull, with a loci traveling from home to desk, then back home again. When a medical condition impacts the Federal or Postal employee, one would think that a race would be on to preserve that body of knowledge, to contain it (as in futuristic movies) with aldehyde fixation in gentrified forms of cryonics in order to reserve unseen answers to unforeseen circumstances, all for the benefit of the “mission of the agency“. But no — that is not what occurs. Instead, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one or more of the essential elements of one’s job (but normally not all), the tired routine is of commonplace doldrums of ineptitude and incompetence: “get the bum out”.
For the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, and further suffers the fool resulting from that medical condition, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the best avenue away from the madness of disregard. But, then, perhaps we all have it wrong; perhaps filing for Medical Retirement through OPM shows and reveals that “mastery of life” we all seek, like the Shaolin Monk of yore who sought enlightenment elsewhere, and attained it within.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire