Wednesday, September 21, 2005

What Doesn't Kill Me Makes Me Tired, Or: My Power Years

With less than a month to go before we hit that half-a-century mark, I figure it’s time to step back and take stock of our current situation.


The sleep apnea’s really making a comeback and I find myself falling asleep often and for lengthy periods of time. If anyone would like to let me know what the hell happened during the last 15 minutes of last night’s episode of The Crabby Doctor Show, I’d appreciate it.

During my waking hours I feel like a radio signal going in and out. The temptation to sink into sleep as if it were a warm bath is omnipresent.

Reading, watching movies, even talking, seems to dissolve into unconsciousness.

As for everything else, it’s either getting fatter or hurts more, or both.

I could take a cue from the wife and peel off some of this poundage. Or eat better.

As for work, it is, if I may paraphrase Joyce, a nightmare from which I am trying to awaken.

But if this is what 50 is like, I can’t say I’m looking forward to becoming the cantankerous old coot I’ve always expected to be. At this rate, I’ll just sleep through my golden years.

Now I see there’s this book out called The Power Years that’s encouraging people to think of their retirement years differently. Rather than spend that time relaxing and enjoying the fruits of your labors, the author suggests that it may well be the time to take on those challenges that years of career-building never allowed you the time to tackle. You know, go back to school, take up painting, bake cookies shaped like the Presidents, etc.

The author also mentions that there is a sizable contingent of us who will probably not retire simply because we need the cash.

This sounds more like me.

I have the distinct feeling that having to choose between one cruise or another, one vacation chalet or another, the summer house or the winter house, is not going to be a problem.

Which is good, in a way. I hate having to make decisions.

So, at the moment, it looks like my power years will consist primarily of setting the alarm clock until I drop dead. Perhaps someone should write a book for us, with suggestions on how to creatively invigorate our later years. For instance:

Always Wondered about that “Vanilla Flavored” Cream in the Cafeteria? Go For It!

Bored with those Black Pens you’ve been Using for the Past 20 Years? Try a Blue One!

Running Out the Clock in the Men’s Room: You Don’t Need A Stall!

How to Disguise your Handwriting when Leaving Threatening Notes on your Co-workers’ Desks.

You CAN Watch Your Portable DVD Player at Your Desk!

That “Other” Shirt You Own: What Are You Waiting For?

Using Your Imagination to Create New “Religious” Holidays!

Don’t Be Afraid to Autodial!

And more.

So, you see, I will also be enjoying my “power years” as decrepitude slowly makes its way across my carcass. It’s important that Life always remain a source of challenge, even if that challenge is between you and a vending machine. Don’t let them retire your talents prematurely. You still have a great deal to offer to medical students and the lower end of the food chain. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

Now let me get back to sleep.


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