Friday, January 4, 2013

Days of Industry and Sloth

An odd time of year.  Snow and cold impose their limitations.  The holidays have come and gone.  A new calendar to ponder.  Another birthday.

Life has a strange pace these days.  My ER work gets concentrated so that I will have a week or two of furious work.  Followed by stretches of not much going on.

It is passing strange.

I typically work 12 hour shifts, with several day or night shifts in succession.  With day shifts you are just a very busy, but still human, being.  Work, commute, sleep, caffeinate, repeat.  With night shifts you become a sort of shade or wraith.  I am as Nosferatu walking quietly in the darkling hours, my presence going unnoticed by most.  When the sun rises I retire to a quiet curtained place and to a restless sleep, ever trying to repay a sleep debt that gradually accumulates like compound interest.

And then I have a week or so with nothing more demanding than routine domestic responsibilities.  Shovel snow when it arrives.  Clean the bathroom floors that have somehow become part of my household duties.

I spend more time than is proper just lounging about in-to call things by their proper name-pajamas. 

I should have more time for reading, and to catch up on movies and such.  But when you have over the years read as much as I have, it becomes more difficult to find books that grab attention and hold it more than a hundred pages.  And other than catching up on back episodes of The Big Bang Theory I don’t find much worthwhile for video entertainment.  Even the few movies I had looked forward to in the year past, Prometheus and The Hobbit, were less than they should have been.  It seems as if it is no longer considered sufficient to make a good solid movie, you have to create a set up for sequels, theme park rides and video game adaptations.

In any event, I am feeling a bit pensive.  Not because of the birthday, although they will do that sometimes.  I am simply pondering what life should look like.

And I think of zeppelins.  Not because of the post holiday pounds, although they also will do that sometimes. 

It’s just that as our Duties and Responsibilities lessen it feels as if the mooring lines holding us down are fewer.  The kids are grown up and have become welcome but intermittent presences.  I have little love of "stuff" and so might have put enough away for the future to afford a frugal life of lighter employ.  Sure, you can always save more money.  In fact my Teutonic mindset says you should always should.  But my work has taught me that too much preparation can be a trap as dangerous as too little.

You might work hard to age 70 and drop dead a month later. You also might live to 110 and outlast any reasonable accumulation of nuts and acorns.

So I look at our life ahead as if it were a majestic airship, held to earth by a diminishing number of cables.  When do you let the last few loose?  And will the winds above and beyond be raging gales pushing you to storm wracked peaks?  Or gentle zephyrs lifting you over green and happy places?

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