Retirement in a Cynical Age

AtTheFeeder

Many people in the world today tends to be cynical about most things; but do nothing about reversing this trend. I don’t have an answer for this; at least not for everyone. But I do know what helps me calm down. I love being out in the fresh air, communing with nature if you want to call it that.

Even with my limited ability to walk, I love to be out, watching the wild life. Even in these cold winter months, I love watching the birds and squirrels attacking the feeders we have in our own little Eden, our nature-loving backyard Garden of Eden. I remember sitting on our patio in New Jersey as I was editing my dissertation, enjoying the birds all around me, even having them land on the table next to me. They accepted me as if I were a kindred soul.

The is something very reverent about being able to share nature, being invited to participate by those who live in nature all their lives. Sitting in the Garden is similar to being in a cathedral. It is quiet; I enter it softly, breathing quietly, respecting the solemnity of the area. My yard is quiet; even the birds and squirrels vying for food, do it silently. I listen to the scurrying, I listen to the quiet. I listen to the clean colors of nature, as it blooms around me.

Time out for my complaints:

I can forget about what my world, our world has evolved into. The state-run college where I teach is a very pleasant place to work, but they do not want to pay me a living wage. Then the state takes some of that away from me in the form of taxes. Huge corporations, drowning in profits are no different, paying their average working near poverty-level wages. There is no entity in our western world that does not want me to give them money. Money. . . the mammon Jesus warns us to avoid.

The huge businesses, and even the churches, use their power to oppress the average person. These organizations press the need for money, press the desire to obtain more of it. We are told to defy mammon, but all of our social institutions only talk of the need for money. There are some churches and organizations that do stress personal time commitment to a cause, not just give me more money.

I am disappointed by the number of church leaders who are backing the debauchery we are experiencing in our political leaders. From the Crusades to present day, governments and churches back going to war. Government and religion tell us that killing is bad, but both support the death penalty, both support the waging of wars. Both do little to lower the gun violence in our country. The personal right to own and use a weapon supersedes all. Now our leaders want to allow weapons in classrooms and church naves. Wow, are we that enamored by the money that gun sales make that we allow guns in church. Is there no place safe from this madness? Other than my backyard Garden of Eden.

Back to my point of retiring:

So, I am retiring after 66 years of work, going to my Garden of Eden, watching the birds, squirrels and other of nature’s creatures enjoy the food my wife so unselfishly shares. Sometimes, I watch from the warmth of my kitchen window (in the winter) or the warmth of my patio chair (in the summer). Away from the pressure for more money, away from the threat of gun-toting, closer to God’s nature, closer to how I want to unwind from the hypocrisy and cynicism of the world around me.

This will be the first time since I was 9 years old in 1952 that I have not been gainfully employed by choice. Sixty-six years of habit-forming work that I will try break when this final semester ends in May. Wish me luck. I will need it.

I apologize for this miscellaneous meandering of a mixed-up mind.

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