Since retiring I have enjoyed my time off. I have had a job continuously since I was 12 years old. This time to slow down has been a blessing and at times a curse. I have looked forward to this day all my life. I never minded working, but who doesn’t look to a time when they can relax a bit.
I was always one who felt that when a man is paying you, you give 100% no matter what you think they are giving you back. Feeling you are not properly compensated is no excuse to be lazy or not give your all. I always thought if you don’t like it, find another job, but as long as someone is paying you to work you need to be working.
So I worked hard, for many years. Taking the work home if not physically, mentally. Losing sleep trying to figure out the best way to tackle an obstacle while lying awake in bed at night. I was on call 24-7 and my last few years the phone never stopped. I maybe was not always happy, and like any job it aggravated the hell out of me at times, but I had a purpose.
I now feel I have no purpose. No goal, no dragon to slay. I spent my life slaying dragons and now it’s like I’m not needed anymore. Along with that, despite all the glowing accolades and “appreciation for what you do,” there has been interest in employing an old dragon slayer. It seems to me your skills are no longer needed so stay away and don’t remind of us of the evil in this world.
I do have options, but after all the years spent slaying dragons, all else pales in interest, comparison, excitement and danger. It seems all those years of adrenaline dumps, controlled fear in the heat of a “battle”, laser like focus and precision slicing through a bullshit story to get to the truth, have been difficult to re-create in the world where the masses live. All those years I heard “I don’t see how you do what you do” could be answered by me with the exact same quote from me to those living their lives of ease and comfort, shielded from the evil that men do. Blind to the reality of the devil alive working through man every day all around them.
I have two specific possible options for my future employment and both seem like soul sucking choices.
I don’t regret my decision to retire, financially, with all the looming changes to retirement plans, none of them good for the worker. After 9-11, we were given the world when people saw all the selfless sacrifice, what people don’t realize is those in my profession give that everyday (not just on days of national tragedies). Now that is all forgotten and we are the enemy again for simply holding the line between good and evil (The Thin Blue Line). We are told we are not worthy of what we were promised. Funny how perceived safety can change the perspectives of fearful men. It’s easy to say you are not needed when so many people naively bask in the comfort of security by those who provide it with their blood, sweat and tears every day.
My family comes first and I did what I had to do to protect our finances with the information I had at the time. My time with that employer and journey had run it’s course. However, I did not realize the loneliness and lack of comradery that awaited me. I thought ending the daily brushes with disaster and danger would be a welcome respite. I have found that the safety enjoyed by most men today, going about their daily lives with no element of danger or true risk is mind numbing. There are those who take up martial arts or other physical challenges, but although injury is a possibility, you are likely not going to die. Your opponent does not hate you, he likely doesn’t want to put a bullet in your head if he had the opportunity. Just like being a good shot at the range is a poor indictor of accuracy in a gun fight, danger in a controlled environment is much different without the controls in place to keep you alive and safe.
The challenge of facing fear and challenging the dragons is what keeps men alive physically and mentally. That’s what most men were meant to do. Once you have conquered your fears and defeated the hesitancy in the face of danger experienced by many men, the thought of a life of being a pencil pushing, office drone is depressing. Men need dragons to slay.
I don’t know what I’m going to do, if anything, or why I even wrote this. I just felt I needed to get out all this frustration I’ve held in all these months since I left the fight…
I’ll be better tomorrow. I promise…