With three months left before retirement, some Great Truths are beginning to reveal themselves. These are personal Great Truths, some might be Universal as well, but the truth can be harsh, or not, but mostly it simply is what the truth always has been. Or not. Things change faster than we do most of our lives, and we tend to go with the flow of the currents that guide our lives. Some paddle harder than others, but at the end of all things, we’re all headed in the same direction.
The First Great Truth is that no one matters. Your career, your life, your accomplishments, your failures, your many hours lying awake at night worrying about first one thing and then the others in turn, for decades, perhaps, mean nothing. The people who employed you many years ago are gone, and new people are ushering in newer people every day of the week. Someone there longer than you left already, and in time, you’ll be gone too, and it will not make an ounce of difference to the desk you once called home. I’m sorry, but this is true.
The Second Great Truth is your life will not dramatically change by retirement or getting ready for retirement, unless you make this happen. If you simply walk out of the office one day, shake hands with people you’ve known since they had dark hair and you had some hair, when you wake up you will live in the same world.
The Last Great Truth, and there are many more I don’t know about yet, and many I will never know, is You Can’t Go Back, and you should never do so. Don’t be one of those people who “visit” your former place of employment because you haven’t planned your new life out yet. Don’t be a Ghost. Don’t haunt yourself or people you once knew. Invite them over for dinner if you miss those people, but don’t miss sitting in your office. It’s like someone missing their cell in prison.
Next Tuesday, I sign the paperwork, and then the countdown to October the First begins. The next ninety days I’ll tie up loose ends, make sure I don’t leave a mess, and basically shed my skin. I’ll take more Mondays and Fridays off. I’ll stay up later. I’ll sleep in. I’ll tell people that this isn’t my problem they’ll have to speak with someone else, because I simply cannot invest in the future here anymore.
For twenty-seven years, and six months, I’ve worked the same job, moving four times, buying two houses, and losing five dogs and a cat along the way. I got married and divorced. I started writing. I voted in every election. I watched a stranger die slow and realized that yes, infrequent as it might be, that too, was my job.
We’re likely to speak more of this as the time draws nearer, yes, and I hope there’s some insight I can provide in this process that might be useful. But here we go, the last week behind my desk before the paperwork is inked, and someone gives me a hard date as to when I can get up, and start all over again.