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By Paul Bendix

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About this blog: A 32-year resident of Menlo Park, I regularly make my way around downtown in a wheelchair. This gives me an unusual perspective on a town in which I have spent almost half of my life. I was educated at UC Berkeley, and permanentl...  (More)

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About Retirement

Uploaded: Mar 29, 2014
My wife insists I'm not retired. I was once a copywriter, and now I write my own stuff. It's still a job, my wife says. I'm still in the game, that is her point.

Not retired, really? The absence of deadlines and cubicles in my life, and the preponderance of cats, dogs and plumbing leaks, makes me suspicious.

A tray of toilet articles has just exploded from my closet. What sent bottles and Q-tips flying across my home office? A schizophrenic calico cat made a desperate leap for freedom from her pursuer, an autistic Border Collie. I share my so-called working life these days with four rescue animals.

A home office, I assure my wife, differs from a home zoo. Furthermore, the job of home zoo keeper is greatly complicated by being in a wheelchair. Retrieving bottles of shampoo, deodorant, insect repellent and so on, with a long-handled reacher occupied a good 20 minutes of this writer's morning. Good thing I don't have any deadlines. Or any bosses.

But I do have dreams, ambitions and vague goals. And for the first time in my life, I have a remarkable degree of freedom. And freedom, any philosopher it will tell you, is a burdensome thing. There are lots of things I can do, few I have to do. And if retirement feels like a preposterous luxury, well, it is. Spend it wisely, I say. But what is wise? What is anything?

That's the problem with having lots of options. There are also lots of questions. What there isn't a lot of, is time. Make the most of it, I say. But what is the 'it' I am making the most of? At times like this, it's good to have a job, even a small one that doesn't pay. Like filling the dogs' bowl. Which involves turning on the wildly spraying kitchen faucet...and reminds me to call the plumber.

Comments

 +  Like this comment
Posted by nice, a resident of Woodside: other,
on Apr 4, 2014 at 11:10 am


It's times like this that I'd be happy to have one of those impersonal thumbs up icons so I could just lazily say, acknowledge your human and humane writing.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Helen, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park,
on Apr 5, 2014 at 7:32 am

A great way to begin the day -- a challenge to live my weekend time (the closest condition to retirement I can hope to have) with a mind to the fleeting nature of time. Better than a croissant with my coffee. Thanks, Paul



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