I get a notice from Google Calendar in my Gmail every morning. Most of the time, it tells me that I have no events scheduled for the day, apart from the odd subscription or Internet charge coming due. What a relief that is: “You have no events scheduled today!”
I like certain events; don’t get me wrong. I love having dinner with the kids and their families, excursions to the marsh to look at birds and critters with my honey, granddaughters’ birthday parties, visits to family in North Florida, the occasional movie, a new gadget to play with, my photography hobby, my sober friends. Stuff like that. But it seems to me that one of the rewards for growing older is a reduction in Events Scheduled Today, things like “talk to bankruptcy lawyer,” “look for job,” “visit pawnshop,” “buy beer,” “contemplate suicide,” “go to rehab….”
This life is better. There are things that need to be done, the routine stuff. Chores, shopping, clean the cat box, sign up for Medicare supplements. We still work. Even though we’ll be collecting Social Security soon, we’ll continue to work. Our checkered past pretty much precluded nest eggs and 401-K’s. And that’s OK, because given the current state of affairs, there’s no telling whether any of those things would have survived in much of a state anyway. The retirement resources we’ll have are the ones we can scare up on a week to week basis, combined with those that we were unable to screw up back in “the day.” And that’s OK, too.
I regret the cost to other people, but it took all of that to shape who I am today, so I can’t regret it for myself. I like who I am, and I don’t mind being a slow old grasshopper. Seems to me that it’s better than being a twisted up, burned-out ant. But of course if I were in a different situation I might view that differently too. Who knows? Do burned-out, twisted ants recognize their condition? I’ll never know. And, of course, being a burned-out grasshopper was no fun at all.
But I know this: I get up most mornings looking forward to the day. I look forward to the little events that Google doesn’t predict. I look forward to sitting at the computer and exploring the world, and to banging out these little bits of — what? Philosophy? Wisdom? Utter hogwash? Drivel? Who cares? It’s all part of the small stuff, and today it’s all small stuff, mostly. I’m cool with my status as a human, being. Human Doing is no longer part of my job description.