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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hanging up the Jockstrap

Once upon a time I was lean and hungry.  I worked overtime to acquire three masters’ degrees.  After personal computers came out, I bought computer books three inches thick and studied them with a passion.  I took computer courses at night and felt deeply that I had to learn all I could to prepare myself to serve.  I couldn’t force someone to give me a job or promote me, so I would do all I could do on my side to be ready just in case.  And my work paid off.  I eventually did get promoted and got a job working with computers.  Today, I was offered an opportunity to take more courses without additional charge to the organization.  All I would have to do is apply myself and do the online equivalent of reading three inch thick computer books.  I could study most anything pertaining to computers or Microsoft software.  The opportunity to learn more is vast.  But I find myself reluctant to take on the challenge.  I am not 33 with a career before me; but 66 with retirement looming within four years.  I am meeting all work related requirements now and don’t feel challenged to do more.  I am, in a phrase, fat and happy.  There was a time I would view such an attitude with some disgust.  I further would see it as sad that a person had given up on life.  Well, in a sense, I have given up.  The fire is not in the belly.  I do not feel the compelling urge to achieve greatness.  Maybe I’m just getting intellectually flabby.  On the other hand, maybe I’ve learned to be content with life as it has developed.  I am ready and willing without embarrassment to plead ignorance on a whole host of issues.  This ignorance is vast but not daunting for I have found that it is widely shared by everyone in one way or another and is kind in its capacity to realize a degree of humility.  Sometimes there is a compelling decency in hanging up the jockstrap, in saying “no” to more and more.  I am not the master of my fate, the captain of my soul.  That attitude was fine in theory and may even have proven a bit beneficial in practice.  Now, however, I am content to be a sojourner upon a sea of shared responsibility.  The achievements of others will be my safety net, my golden parachute.

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