They come in flashes of rare instances; sometimes, in a more subtle manner, like encroachments by a nimble adversary; at others, tantamount to ugly boils erupting in the middle of one’s forehead while interviewing for a sought-after position. We cloak ourselves in lies, more lies, and obfuscations wrapped in greater deceptions of self-doubt.
Sometimes, such concealment is necessary; for, perhaps it is an evolutionary tool in order to merely survive. Those who have lost such capacity may have to face the harsh realities of day-to-day living, and simply go mad; others who cannot defer the decadence of self-realization may react by engaging in binges of bifurcated pigeonholing and compartmentalizing of walls constructed to deny access to intercontinental flights of fancy.
Heidegger would say of it that we are merely procrastinating the inevitable. The reality of Being is too harsh; projects and made-up, artificial distractions allow us to avoid the revelation of the ugliness of the world, or at least delay its unconcealed rupture for the time being.
But medical conditions shatter that quietude of avoidance. For, their reality and intentional rudeness in deliberate interference in our daily lives presents itself like the fat uncle who takes up the entire couch without asking; the ugly displacement of pleasurable moments cloaked in deceptive avoidance of self-awareness makes for an elephant which is whispered about but nobody notices.
Becoming lost in virtual reality; Facebook friends whom we never meet; Twitter followings which meander in meaningless platitudes; the very lack of substantive discourse in our lives belies our greater efforts to avoid and confound.
Does it matter that the team one roots for will have lost on Sunday, or that the Lottery Ticket was a wasted twenty-dollar bill flushed down the toilet? Mere distractions become central in lives of desperation and quiet moments of weeping in the dark caverns of lost thoughts, sought-after childhoods and forgotten moments of honesty and carefree pictures frozen in time. But it is the ugliness of troublesome truths which reveal themselves to haunt and nudge.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who must face that challenge, the reality of life occurs when the medical condition prevents the Federal employee or Postal worker from continuing to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service. At some point, serious decisions must be made.
The clash between avoidance and reality comes to a flashpoint of sorts, and procrastination of the delayed cloaking of harshness can no longer be discreetly catalogued.
The page is opened upon us, and we must ask: Can I continue in this same way? Is the Agency or the Postal Service considering termination? Will I become a young retiree in a 90-year old body if I struggle to remain? And those haunting images of 40-some-year-old former football players in wheelchairs and walking like senile old men — does that portend of images for my life in the not-too-distant future?
Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a viable alternative to allowing for those bare moments of honesty to become a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Indicators mean something, and when one’s body, mind or soul shout within the quietude of one’s nudging conscience, it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, lest those bare moments of honesty become lost in the forgotten crevices of secluded fears relegated to the growing trash heaps of avoided realities.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire