It is all well and good to write the narrative of one’s life, and to live it in accordance with the prose and poetry (or lack thereof) which we embrace; but to write another’s life — it makes one pause, hesitate and move with trepidation. For, we ask ourselves: Of what right do we have? Is that best for the other person? We make such a mess of our own lives; what burden of responsibility must we undertake in order to shoulder the writing of another’s life? But that is precisely what we do when we have children, isn’t it?
Without any direction, few examples (assuming the author is one of the fortunate ones who had good parents in which to mirror a paradigm of reflective and transference of constructive behavior), and certainly no blueprint to follow, we blindly accept the unformed clay of humanity’s beginnings, and assume the responsibility of creating and conforming an unfinished product to determine the future course of one’s community, the greater society, and the historical relevance of an expanding civilization.
Gee, that sounds easy enough. And though we may have made complete messes of our own lives, we somehow believe that we have “rights” and first privileges when it comes to control, command and conforming consolidation concerning creativity confounding colorful conceptual constructs in casting the mold (sorry, but the alliteration didn’t hold for the last couple of words in the sequence).
Then, of course, there comes a time when such narration of another’s upbringing begins to recede, until finally, cessation through maturity, rebelliousness or separation of ways comes to fruition; and the next generation of messes left undone continues in a perpetural progression of regressive deterioration.
Prison workers and correctional officers must feel this way, as they are daily attempting to write the life of others by restraining and reformulating (or trying to) those very failures that were allowed because of priority of rights. But beyond raising children, how many of us possess the opportunity, or responsibility, of writing another’s life, and if we do, how seriously do we undertake that project?
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must file 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, the writing of another’s life must be undertaken despite that “other” life being one’s own.
In doing so, objectivity must be embraced, and this is often a difficult task, if not an impossible one. For, in formulating a Federal Disability Retirement case, the narration of proving one’s evidence by a preponderance of the evidence must reflect a standard of objectivity on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, and must not meander into a diatribe of one’s own musings and meaningless messes.
Writing one’s own life is difficult enough; writing another’s life, when that other life is the one which is owned by one’s own life, is beyond being a writer’s hardship, but a necessity nonetheless if the Federal or Postal worker wants to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM. But, then, we were all great successes as parents, weren’t we?
Robert R. McGill, Esquire