I Decline To Recline
We have all known people who have retired only to take up permanent residence in a recliner in front of the TV. That is what they do – and they are dead within a year. These are also the same people who, if you asked them to tell you about themselves, would start off by talking about what they did for a living. I’ve never understood people like that.
I have known a number of people who identified themselves by their jobs, and with a little probing they will admit that, even though they worked in the same field for forty years, they hated their jobs. Forty years of doing something they hated, retire, and kicked the bucket before the cake from their retirement party had gone stale.
How sad – terribly, terribly, pointlessly sad.
I got my first job when I was 17 years old and like most first jobs it sucked. Altogether I worked for 47 years, finally retiring at the urging of my wife and my doctor. It was my doctor who told me to keep active, but not busy. I understood what he meant. I never sit in a recliner.
That was a little over five years ago – and I’m still here in an upright position with measurable vital signs.
In all those 47 years I never felt that I was my work and I think I know why I never fell into that lethal trap.
In the course of those years I held a number of different jobs to pay the bills, but none of those jobs were ever my “career.” It may sound a bit delusional, but I always thought of my career as being an “Entertainer,” and not a Sales Rep, Case Manager, Purchasing Agent, Clerk, Corporate Trainer, Speech Doctor, or Teacher. All of these were just “Day Jobs.” My real career was at night in Theaters, Nightclubs, Saloons, and wherever there was a stage.
I was never a “success” in the usual sense. I never made the big bucks, but combined with the day jobs, I put food on the table and a roof over that table.
Regrets? Sure, but I don’t dwell on them. What would be the point? Everyone has regrets in their life. It’s how you deal with them that either keeps you sane or plunges you over a cliff. Would knowing then what I know now have made any differences? Yes and No.
Yes – I still would have been a Theater major in college, but I would have studied more, and Yes I would never have bought that ugly Fiat in 1975. But I never would have given up my creative life. It sustained me then and it continues to pump life through my veins today.
While the world of Show Business may not consider me a raving success, I have done more, seen more, and known more fascinating people than I could ever have expected. I have enjoyed my life. From my Point of View I can look in the mirror and smile.
Retired? Yeah, well, kinda, maybe, sort of, in some sense of the word.