Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Retirement Thoughts since September, 2001

(Originally run 2/28/04 on our old site)

Ernie Simpson

I’ve been thinking a lot about it, and I wonder if I should not go ahead and do it. To use the words I heard from a friend from Houston not long ago, “I’m going to sign up.” I wondered what ‘sign up’ meant so I asked him. He said, “Sign up for my Social Security.” I said, “Oh.” South Texas term I guess, ‘sign up.’ Could just have easily been a White County term, and maybe it was, he just borrowed it.

Well, I’m conservative as to decisions like this, not as much as some, but still want to make sure I have my ducks in a row before going. I think about people preoccupied with work to the point that they call in every day while on vacation, and are either required to carry or want to carry a cell phone or pager while on vacation. I don’t call in. I used to “check in with the office”, but now it’s more important to get completely away.

I wonder sometime about the recitals missed, the flowers not smelled, and the leisurely pursuits imagined but not enjoyed by some that can’t get away. I was lucky: I wanted to be a part of my boys growing up, but I think that, if I had it to do over again, I would be and do more of that. I had the time to do it, and it worked out pretty well. I do wonder how many more flowers I could smell if I went ahead now, however. I sometimes think too, that there are only so many you’ll have a chance to smell, so don’t lose the opportunity to skip even one, if possible. Like, what are you waiting for?

Sometimes business meetings here seem to be collections of the exhausted, inattentive and preoccupied, for the most part. I wonder too, as we get things called back by customers, if sloppy work has been legitimized in order to attain speed. It’s discouraging to be in the middle of this, and retirement looks richer.

The accepted norms at times ask that we sacrifice family and personal life for the corporate good. I remember years ago, my boss, Sam, who had a distributor guest here in town, and chose to take the distributor to dinner and missed his son’s high school graduation. That was standard for some at that time, and in some cases it has not changed. Sam’s son never forgave him.

I’m thankful to be coming close to the end of my career here, and won’t have to worry much longer about the choices of boarding the plane for travel on Sunday, staying over for a better rate, and doing training on my own time for the corporate good. There are those who are here who will sacrifice all their life, and live to work, instead of work to live. I’m thankful that I know the difference and am blessed that “there, but for the grace of God, go I.”

I’m a fan of Pogo the Possum too, who said, “we has met the enemy and he is us.” We both have met the enemy, Pogo. Fear not, I know who it is.

NOTE: Ole Ern set the Big Day for 10/29/04. And, by George, he kept it! –tlp-


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