Purpose and Potential Of George's Eagle Harbor Web, November, 1996
The inference, of course, is that I have too much free time on my hands. Time that might, perhaps should, be devoted to something job like, i.e. disciplined and productive - like being a greeter at Walmart. Or at least, something providing greater public benefit - like a daily cleaning of the beach or writing, if not the great American novel, at least some good fire truck specifications. Instead, or so my good Harbor neighbors allege, I am engaged in frivolous pursuit - fanciful journal writing, setting up snowfall forecasting contests, devoting the wee hours of most early morns to dabbling with an ether bound web site, getting grown ups to carve jack-o'-lanterns, barging about in a sail boat, spending too much time with a dog, fretting about the destruction of long abandoned miner homes, cultivating Harbor hokum. The list of my sins of indolence and self indulgence seems endless.
I'm sure those sharing these observations on my seemingly purposeless lifestyle are well meaning, and, more often than not, just joshing. I'm apparently viewed, probably correctly, as someone who takes himself and life seriously, perhaps too seriously, and the natural assumption might be that any suggestion of superfluous use of my being would prick me to the core. Well, the mind echo of this twinkle in the eye teasing is not keeping me awake at night, but I admit to being bemused.
One might expect that those still paying into my social security benefit fund would view my capers in such light. I was of such mind during my paycheck years. Indeed, I was haunted by magazine and television pictures of retired folks seemingly happy as they struggled to master the art of fly casting or putting, hauled grandchildren to soccer games, shared long lunches with cronies, pushed hospital gurneys, and other such inane, or so I thought, activities. (That was before I had grandchildren.) I simply could not imagine myself in such scenarios. I dreaded the prospect. Well, the handful of Harbor folks pulling out of their driveways each morning for another day at work all have much better balance between work and leisure, a product of living at Eagle Harbor, but they are probably still sufficiently work focused to be amused, perhaps befuddled, by my remarkable conversion. They can be forgiven.
My fellow Harbor retirees are another matter. Come on, "need a job"? I have a job! It's just, how should I put this, not very "conventional". If folks gleefully carve pumpkins, derive some pleasure from making wild ass guesses about how much snow we might be blessed with, get some good vibes from the Harbor Web, or chuckle at a "George and the wonderdog" story, what greater purpose in life could I serve?
Well, to be honest, probably much more, but one of the things I've learned about retired life is that one has a much better understanding and acceptance of one's capabilities and what constitutes being "productive" or "beneficial". My capers might be unusual, but when I contemplate the good works of my fellow Harbor retirees, whether they be keeping our ski trail tracked, chasing down a forest fire, organizing a July 4th celebration, convening a weekly game of "whiz", lovingly caring for an invalid spouse, volunteering as lighthouse hosts, or just being there when a neighbor needs assistance, it's really not much different. We all have "jobs". We are all doing what we can do, as well as we can do it.
I once thought that boosting my old company's sales or margin by a tenth of a percentage or so was what life was all about. Now, as I noted in another piece, a youngster happily crawling among the Harbor's Halloween pumpkin patch makes my day. That beats the "old job" any day!
So, what do I make of this "George, you need a job" stuff? They're pulling my leg, knowing how easily I can be buffaloed. We are all birds of the same feather. The only difference is that the flight of this bird is at times erratic, swooping about in bursts of fancy and irreverence. The kind of flamboyant behavior that begs the good natured pecks of the flock.
I suspect my Harbor brethren will be all smiles when they encounter this musing - happy in the thought that their joshing got me so stirred up.
That's good. It's been a joy to write.
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