It is the past that always haunts; of dreams before, when youthful vigor and innocence begetting of naïveté left one breathless with a clueless notion of the world. Was it better to live in a world of fantasy, where the world was limitless in its potential — or do we prefer the reality of cynicism where we finally comprehend the restrictions of imposed constraints?
The worst form of put-down is to refer to a middle-aged man or woman as one who “had” so much potential; for it is the third person singular in past tense that evolved from the present tense of “has”, and we wonder when the variation substituting the “s” with the “d” occurred.
It is all well and good to be young with yet the fading scars of an acne-riddled chin, with barely a stubble to makes a difference by a razor’s edge in the morning, and be referred to as a person who “has” potential; it is quite another when the first wrinkles of botox-resistant flabbiness find a permanent home in the comfort of an expansive forehead, when the verb is still applied but with the substituted subtlety of the interchanged consonant, barely noticed but with conviction declared.
That is when, of dreams before and hopes once harbored become but shadows left behind in the greenery of a forgotten childhood.
Do we despair when we no longer have dreams? Are we sadder, less positive, more cynical, when the potential others noted have been dashed with the ravages of time, reality, cold facts and ruthless societal indifference?
One can possess virtue in this world, so long as it is never tested; but is virtue of any value if it never encounters reality but remains in the ivory towers of conceptual constructs? Of dreams before — before what? Before the “real world” extinguished them and relegated such to the trash heaps of childish fantasies, never to be redeemed because of the debts owed and the responsibilities to bear?
Yet, one can hold on to some dreams, and even if never realized, the dreams of youth may still be enjoyed regardless of the substitution of the “s” for the “d”. What others say of you may not always be applicable; it may just be a soliloquy of regrets reflecting the speaker’s own failures.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition and need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the fact that things didn’t “turn out like they were supposed to” does not mean that, of the dreams before, everything has to be abandoned.
OPM Disability Retirement is merely a means to an end; it is, for the time being a means in order to focus upon one’s health and well being, in order to prepare for a future beyond today’s sorrows. Federal Disability Retirement benefits allows for a person to gain some semblance of financial security in order to get back to good health, and to allow for the past tense to return one to the third person singular in the present tense — for dreams today, and not of dreams before.
Robert R. MdGill, Esquire