The dizzying pace of it all defies comprehension. We are, indeed, busy-bees, always engaged in this project, that protest, intervening in the affairs of others when our own are in such a state of disarray; up at it early in the morning and continuing until exhaustion sets in or wayward dementia in old age where even nursing homes impose human activity every night – bingo, dance, meditation, Tai Chi, family visitation day; not even a break for the aged.
Then, when we see those documentary films in foreign lands, of men taking hours to untangle the fishing net in preparation for the next day’s work; of sitting with family members in gathering for a meal; and of mountainous monasteries where gardening for supplemental food sources is an act of reflective repose, we wonder if the lives we live – so full of human activity supposedly for a purposeful end – is the only, the best, or the pinnacle of options left for us?
Did we ever choose the quantification of human activity we engage in? Did we, at some point in our lives, sit down and say, Yes, I will accept to do that, agree to embrace this, and refuse all others? Or, did the incremental, subtle and always insidious wave of requests, obligations and pressure to perform just overtake us, until one day we wake up in the middle of the night and recognize that our time is not our own, the human activity is without purpose or conscious constructiveness, and the projects we think are so dear to us, merely destroy and debilitate the human spirit? That is the alienation talked about by Camus and the French Existentialists, is it not?
Human activity cannot be so senseless or purposeless; it must be to build, to advance, to secure for the future; and yet, as we lay in the quietude of nightly sweats, it becomes evident that we perform it for means otherwise intended.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to alienate one’s sense of mission and purpose from that of the priority that should be recognized – one’s health and the ability to have joy in life – the contradiction and conundrum is in “letting go” of that which has been a part of our lives for so long: The job, the career path, the sense of “belonging” to a community of people who believe in the mission of the agency or the U.S. Postal Service.
Like barnacles clinging to the underside of a ship’s belly, we grapple and travel through life without quite knowing why, where we are going, or for what purpose we originally attached ourselves.
Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS of CSRS Offset, is a way of: A. Recognizing the priority of health, B. Beginning the process of detaching ourselves as mere barnacles upon a ship’s underbelly, and C. Reflecting upon the course of one’s future. Human activity is great and all – but it is the things we choose not to do that often define who we are in the hubbub of this mindless frenzy.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire