Yesterday was the 5th anniversary of my exodus from public service. It seems like 5 days. The older I get, and I don't feel all that old, the faster time seems to speed up.
Truth be told, it didn't really hit me until a week or so ago. Then again, I'm pretty busy with a lot of stuff nowadays. At least too busy to engage in a great deal of navel gazing. And too busy to play cards at the AARP meeting room down the street.
What a difference 5 years makes. When I first "retired" I felt like a fish out of water. Indeed, I left the government because I was tired of the job. Not because I was tired of working. It never occurred to me that I would not be doing something full time pretty quickly. And, truth be told the first 6 months or so were pretty awful.
After all, I had always had some kind of job since I was 14. Not working was unthinkable for me. Hence, the "fish out of water" feelings of cognitive dissonance. Insert "alone on an island", "out on a limb", or your own favorite metaphor for self-pity here.
But guess what? I am so over that shit. And have been for some time.
The following is an example of what I get to do instead of practicing law all of the time. Friday's exchange with a 5th grader went like this:
"So you still do lawyer work?" she asked.
"Do you have an office?"
"Yeah. In my house."
"Are you a millionaire?"
"Yes I am."
So I'm not really a millionaire. That was a "fib." It's only a lie if you put it on a financial statement.
I saw no point in explaining the concept of "solvency" to a 9 year old. But is this funner than hell or what?
I am light years removed from 5 years ago. I'm in a great relationship with someone who a friend described upon meeting her as "very tall and way cool." I am pretty much in-house counsel for a small business here in town and I have enough people wanting me to do stuff for them that I have broken down and bought malpractice insurance.
I spend a lot of time at Catholic High down the street and a little at St. Edward's Middle School where the above-exchange took place. I used to do more writing than I do nowadays. I think it's because I got hit with a lazy stick after teaching full-time last semester. That's OK. Never really had the opportunity to be worthless before. I'll get over it one of these days. Maybe.
I wouldn't say that I worry about money but I think about it more than I used to. Then again I've got a pretty good amount of money socked away that I have never touched. Every month the eagle screams and I get a check sufficient to finance my slothful ways every month. I will continue to receive it until my expiration date or World War III, whichever comes first.
As an aside, I need to do something about my car. I need to do some repairs or buy another one. For some reason a new tightwad version of me is in full flower. M says I need to quit thinking about this stuff and go buy a damn car. She's probably right. But I need to think about it. Now I understand why the elderly ruminate overmuch on these things. They have time to do it. This self-revelation is frightening.
Of course, if Donald Trump pulls off the con of his career and places his hand on the Bible in January, I will quit joking about such mundane subjects. And I will start checking out real estate in Quebec or New Zealand.
The state of my personal union 5 years out-knock on wood- is far better than I deserve. I have my health, friends and family. I do fun things with interesting people, some of whom are a little mouthier than is necessary. But that's OK. Folks repose trust in me and I never forget what a sacred thing that is.
All is well. I am at peace.
And I do not take it for granted.
But really. It's been 5 years since I walked out of the Federal Building?