"It gives me great pleasure indeed to see the stubborness of the inorrigible nonconformist warmly acclaimed." - Albert Einstein

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I aspire to a stubbornly incorrigible nonconformity. The degree to which I have achieved my aspiration I leave in the capable hands of those whose wisdom and humilty exceed my own.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Settling In

I have been officially retired for about a month now and I am starting to settle in. I think I have a steep learning curve. I have worked for so long, and enjoyed it, that I have to learn how to be retired. It is a different set of skills and competencies. The first thing that I have leared, or decided I guess is more accurate, is that it is not a good idea to stay in your pajamas. I have adopted the very modest discipline that every single day, even if I have nothing scheduled or planned for that day, I will get up, brush my teeth, shave, dress, practice my zen meditation, and then do something. It is just too easy and self-destructive for me to just stay in my pajamas all day long.

So far I have spent time writing and reading and meditating. I have done a little housework, laundry, and yardwork. I have managed the bureaucracy of my disability and insurance. This is my new job, being retired. It is just like every other job I have ever had, I will get better at it the longer I do it. I was an excellent social worker and child welfare advocate and now I aspire to be an excellent retiree.

I have plans that are starting to formulate for me. I got an idea for a novel yesterday and started working on it, just a little, this morning. The story line is based on a real life child welfare social work experience of mine, so perhaps, if it ever gets written and published, it would evolve into a series? That sounds pretty exciting.

It has been an eventful week for me. I got my official award letter from social security, in which the government informed me that I am disabled and will begin receiving social security disability payments in August. I had expected that this would be a much more challenging process and that I would be initially denied and have to appeal, so this is good news, kind of. At least now starting in August I will have a reliable source of income. Income is a good thing.

It is hard for me to think of myself as being disabled though. I have come to terms with being disabled, it is the label that troubles me. It is perfectly alright for me to know that I am disabled, but it was not something that I particularly wanted to share with the entire world, or at least with my entire world. Of course, it now occus to me that that is exactly what I am doing by writing about it in my blog. I vascilate between thinking that publicizing my disability is whining and/or sympathy seeking behavior and thinking that letting people know how I am doing is a mature attempt to seek appropriate support from friends and family. It all depends on how I feel at any given moment.

I saw a friend at the park yesterday. I hadn't spoken to him since he had told me that he was diagnosed with and being treated for prostate cancer. He had suggested that we get together the next week and that he would call me. I knew, from other friends, that he was having a challenging time with his treatment, so I was not surprised when he didn't call me. Yesterday he apologized for not getting back to me and explained that his treatment was more difficult than he had anticipated. I reflected that we are just not as young and resilient as we once were, no matter what our brains tell us.

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