Wednesday, February 08, 2006
enslaved by trivia
The quote below got me thinking, as it did Lorna and Dawn. When I retired I was looking forward to much needed leisure. Being released from the slavery of working for a living and all the little things that come with it, such as getting up at a certain time each day, repeating routine functions of the job day after day, week after week; and most of all the psychological ball and chain of being obligated to show up and do another's bidding for most of a lifetime--I was ready for an unstructured, lack-a-daisical lifestyle. But I soon found out that without definite goals and some sort of structured activity you are soon overtaken by the trivial little parts of your day, from the ritual of your morning coffee and television news, to the meals that punctuate your days. I work in the yard and have remodeling projects to keep me busy, but there's no sense of urgency to bring me back to those things regularly and I'm not so ambitious that I've sought some sort of meaningful work. But I have had work brought to me. I was asked by a neighbor a few months ago to join our local volunteer fire department. I at first turned him down, after all I'm 60 years old; what business do I have fighting fires? But he persisted and I did feel an obligation to help the community in any way I can. Now, after just two months, I've been elected secretary of the department and my responsibilities, in addition to responding to fire calls, are to keep training records, transmit reports to the emergency management agency in our state, prepare presentations for board and public meetings, and maintain the department website. I'm really afraid of the job. I suppose I doubt my abilities and and my willingness to do it over the long haul, but Ralph Waldo Emerson said: "Always, always, always, always, always do what you are afraid to do." So, here I am, performing a vital service to the community while yearning to return to those trivialities that kept me immobile and bored.