Shortly after I started to work for the government, one of the co-workers had a “leaving for retirement” farewell party. She’s been with the company for 40 years and knew everything backwards, so the director said we’re facing challenging times ahead of us as he gave toast. He said she could not be replaced, but we’ll try to find someone who could do similarly good job in her place.
As I was talking with another of my co-workers during this retirement party, he mentioned that the lady leaving had perfect life. He said everything in her life went as planned – she applied for a job with the government as soon as she got out of college, got hired, started working here, got knocked up, got married, spawned a few kids, kids grew up and got married, then they left family house, then she’d worked here for few more years and now she’s retiring and has all the time in the world to do the things she enjoys. A perfect life revealed before our eyes. Apparently this woman’s life went exactly as planned, everything fell in place, everything went smooth and now she’s gonna reap benefits of it. Could life get any more perfect than that?
As I looked back at my life so far, I thought there was a lot of merit to what my co-worker had said. True enough – everything in that lady’s life went smoothly and she’s now secured for the rest of her life to enjoy herself any way she pleases. It made me feel lost and desperate a little since I was 32 at the time and my life so far has been nothing like that. I was not married, I did not own a house, the longest I stayed in one job was 4 years… compared to that retiring lady I was a lost cause. When she was my age, she had already worked for the government for over a decade and had family and organized cash flow.
The one positive I saw was the fact that even though I scored that government job later in my life than she did in hers, I scored it nonetheless and my contributions to the retirement fund have been steadily dispensed every month. I had more than 20 years of working ahead of myself so if stuck with the government, at the end of those more than two decades I’d still be looking at dignified retirement. So I kept myself safely locked within the mundane lifestyle of a corporate slave. It was not making me rich, but I was not poor either. I continued accumulating possessions and kept telling myself to bite it and go with it, for one day I could retire and my life will know joy at last.