In chaos, where does one find refuge? One suspects that for children of modernity, the escape into the virtual world of computer games, Internet conversations, constant checking and updating of profiles, and the entire gambit of projects unrelated to the reality surrounding, is that very reservation of constancy which is needed by all.
Life has burdens; parents have an obligation and duty to contain and protect throughout those crucial periods of growth; but what happens when parents have never known the stability of life’s promise and become parents even before being ready themselves? Do they, as well, have the leisure of becoming lost and transfixed upon the unreality of a virtual universe? It would seem so, just by mere observation of local lore, of walking down any street in the country and seeing seemingly mature individuals transparently ensconced in a trance beheld by a mobile device.
Life has real burdens; upon birth, there was never an accompanying set of detailed instructions as to how to “deal” with them; and, in the end, it is questionable as to whether any generational transfer of wisdom could be imparted within a society where independence is encouraged and separateness of lives is demanded. In a society where age determines adulthood, where division defines maturity and fissures constitutes the unassailable stamp of approval in becoming independent and partitioned; neighborhoods are merely so defined because of their antiseptic aggregation of nearness by cluster, and not because anyone is expected to actually interact with one another.
No, there is no such thing as sharing the burden, or lessening the load which one encounters in the course of living a life. It is, indeed, an absurdity – and Sartre’s play, No Exit, reflects upon that issue, as we are born without asking, live without a means of filing an appeal, and die with souls extinguished without value or worth of knowing. Knowing what? Of that certainty of teleological embracing as in foregone eras, when faith, trust and a sense of belonging defined a life.
One may scoff and say that all of that is mere tripe; that there never was a time before when society breathed as an organic unit and life lifted burdens within the constancy of sustained relationships. Even the old places are now being destroyed, and one sees the devastation of sectarian wars and ravages of inherited hatreds in countries where wealth and technology has not quite arrived, but where family units were still fairly intact.
For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker, life’s burdens become exponentially magnified when a medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s job. When that situation arrives, it further alienates and separates, especially in a society which trumpets the virtues of independence, when in fact it merely identifies the loneliness.
Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is one avenue to undertake, especially when it becomes clear that neither the Federal Agency nor the U.S. Postal Service is going to do what communities and neighborhoods of yore once did – of caring by providing an “accommodation” for one’s medical condition.
For, in the end, just as there was never a set of instructions accompanying a newborn’s life, so there is very little information “out there” for the Federal or Postal employee whose career may come to an end because of a medical condition, except for specialized areas of legal help which serves to lift some of life’s burdens in the process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire