the ugly writers

Retirement on the Horizon

I’ve endured and even made some slow, steady progress up to the absolute bottom of the supervisory chain.

Retirement on the Horizon is an editorial written by Tim Clark and shared with The Ugly Writers under the theme Intrusive Thoughts for the month of May

In the murky distance skulks the vague outline of retirement. It creeps and crawls, I can see it for a second, then it drops behind a shadow, maybe slips just over the horizon, or ducks behind a few storm clouds. Every brief view makes it appear a little closer, and every time it vanishes it seems to be gone forever, a fantasy with no real substance, just another myth to keep me clocking in. 

But when I see it, or when my wife talks about it, I start to believe. I can see it, ungainly and awkward. It lacks definition, the edges are soft, and fluid. You just can’t get a handle on what it is. 

Since I was 16, about 48 years, more or less, give or take a few, I’ve been checking in, punching a clock, toeing the line, answering to someone about something. It’s been the longest single constant scrawled across my ledger. I’ve never been happy about it. 

Being an employee is similar to being an unruly child. A troubled youth whose parents have decided that the effort is still emotionally affordable, but are running out of patience, and beginning to question their decision.

I’ve endured and even made some slow, steady progress up to the absolute bottom of the supervisory chain. I had to scrape down parts of my humanity and sacrifice a good deal of the better pieces of the protective shell that kept the sacred inner from the smoking perdition of outer. I’ve always questioned those choices.

Now, I’m almost free, or that’s the rumor, anyway. 

If it’s true, and I’m hoping it is, though I’m still waiting for proof, I’m starting to wonder about my ability to adapt. Can I make it work?

As mentioned earlier, I’ve been working for so long I might have symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome. Will I feel the need to impress somebody who doesn’t know my name or what I do for the company they own or manage? I’ve always had an addictive personality; change can be difficult.  Plus, my obsessive desire to avoid detection and conflict has driven me to find ways to do enough to satisfy my superiors without aggravating my coworkers. I’m constantly trying to find a balance between productivity and just getting by, a minimum threshold for continued employment. It’s become an addiction, and it takes a lot of time, and computational cycles.

Even as a supervisor I tried to please everyone, a little, and it ended up irritating everybody. But it did make people avoid me like somebody they think they might have borrowed a few dollars from.

Now I might need to shift gears… if this whole retirement scheme is legitimate. I’m not sure how to do that. What will I do with myself when I don’t have to pretend to be a dedicated employee? 

I have a chilling vision of days and nights that become indistinguishable. Going to sleep just as the alarm clock goes off. Or even worse, getting up and dozing in my chair, waking up to sip the cold coffee in the “MAKE AMERICA HIPPY AGAIN” sitting on the table beside me. And drifting off again. Sleep cycle disturbances caused by a complete loss of identity. 

I worry my grip on my reality is so entwined in being employed one will go along with the other. 

A lost ship, slack sails, broken rudder, with nothing to navigate toward anyway. My sanity is odd, at best, and without something to fixate on, complain about, whine, moan, and in general feel is beneath me, I may fall into the abyss I’ve spent years avoiding. 

The only choice is to make retirement my next job. Like every job, I don’t plan on being very good at it, but I should be good enough to keep my position, I always have. I’ll have to maintain a schedule. And keep my eyes open. 

Fear is always my faithful companion. It’s kept me alive through years of near-indentured servitude.  It was my Sancho Panza, as I made my way through a life of ancient perils disguised as modern responsibilities and conveniences.  

But, despite the risks, I’m ready to give it a go. A part-time job, maybe I’ll volunteer somewhere, I will finish my novel, one of them, anyway, a few Delta 9 Gummies to keep the edges smooth. In a way, it’s just another step, and I’ve lasted a lot longer than many people, including myself, predicted.

Read more from Tim Clark by visiting his website at Life, Explained or by checking out his previous write-ups here at The Ugly Writers.

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Tim Clark

Tim Clark

Tim Clark is a writer, blogger, novice political activist, husband and father, from Columbus, Ohio.

He has proudly written for The Ugly Writers, Street Speech, a local homeless advocacy newspaper and Lefty Pop

Articles: 36

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