Once, we were all children. Of dreams once entertained, and roles of play-acting embraced; when once lines between reality and fantasy blurred like the fireflies burning brightly against the midnight sky, only to disappear and reappear, then fade into the quietude of dawn’s inevitable encroachment; and we, like fairies and angels on wings of carefree butterflies, wrapped in colors unimaginable but for unfettered naiveness and fenceless pastures of creativity, ran through the fields of time unconcerned with the worries and tumults of adulthood and the withering trials of timeless eternity which one day, not long hence, would come to gather up the faces of consternation, because we had to “grow up”.
There was magic, then, unextinguished even for the child with forlorn eyes who was constantly yelled at, heard through the walls of societal ingratitude, and when friends and neighbors huddled and shrugged, hoping against fear that Emily would not be spanked and Benny would not be kept behind. That magic became extinguished — not because we didn’t care, or that grownups can’t remember what it is like to be childlike and innocent; but because life intervenes, interrupts, and disrupts the flow of humanity; because meanness prevails and technology assails; and because, while we say we care, and some of us do, we just don’t care “enough”.
Then, there are the “realities” of life — of making a living, embracing a career, getting married and doing all of that “stuff” that entanglements with another soul comes bundled with, and suddenly the uncomplicated mind where a stick becomes a sword, a pasture becomes a battleground, and the short, fat kid is named Napoleon, disappears like the wisp of willows bending at the easterly winds suddenly snaps, and we are back to facing the problems of life. And medical conditions.
That is often the tragic mold of the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker who must cut short his or her career because of a medical condition; fortunately, however, under FERS & CSRS, or even CSRS Offset, you can file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Does attaining an OPM Disability Retirement annuity bring back one’s childhood? No. Does it guarantee happiness? Nothing ever does. But that is the telltale sign of adulthood — of recognizing the chasm between expectation and reality. The process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Employee OPM Disability Retirement benefits is a long and arduous one, and it is beset with potential bureaucratic entanglements and complex legal challenges which must be faced with calm rationality.
Brave hearts and vanguard souls must always face and endure, but it is often the best course of action in order to attain the next phase for one’s life, in order to care for one’s medical condition and achieve that level of equanimity for life’s future challenges. Yes, perhaps the magic of childhood lore has been extinguished forever, and the adult life’s “stuff” has replaced those yawning days of make-believe; but of the future, what remains is that which we make of it, whether in making it up as we go or mucking it up further.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire