Tuesday, March 31, 2009

To Retire, or Not to Retire
That is the Question

In three weeks I will have given thirty years of service to the United States Postal Service. I started when we were mailmen, not letter carriers. Over the years, I’ve seen the uniform change slightly—stripes on the shirts, shorts allowed, a more modern eagle for our emblem, and recently a new hat that looks like Gilligan would be proud to wear. I’ve seen supervisors and managers come and go. The mail volume has dropped, and times are tough for our business, like many of you face, too.

Over the years I’ve complained about the good ol’ USPS. Who hasn’t? And the jokes…

What does it mean when the flag at the Post Office flies at half mast? They’re hiring.

You hear about the new Forever stamp? Rightly named because it takes forever to get there.

Now that the long-awaited day approaches, I wonder if I should let younger hands and feet take over, so I can retire to where old mailmen slink off and fade into obscurity. Uncle Sam may even sweeten the pot as I hear rumors of incentives to get rid of the old timers.

The decision will probably be a simple one: Can I afford to go? I have to admit I’m a bit surprised at my reaction, however. I thought I’d be thrilled at the prospect, but I’m less than overwhelmed. It has to do with the realization that time has slipped away. How did thirty years pass by so quickly? And where has my hair gone?

I don’t really have a point to my story, except that time passes quickly. Enjoy life. Laugh heartily, and dance. I wish I had danced more.

Maybe I’ll start a retirement fun (no, I didn’t mean fund, although you’re welcome to donate). I’ve enjoyed my life so far, why should retirement be different? If I go—if I can afford to go—I thank God for the years of steady income and mutual friends, and for the possibility of doing what I want to do most—writing.

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