This I Believe

Steve - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Entered on September 13, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: setbacks
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This I Believe …

Life is Not Worth Living (Unless you’re Very Lucky)

That’s a bummer, I know. These essays are supposed to be inspirational. This one is not. This one is about me who is beyond being inspired by anybody.

When I was young, I found that liked government. I went into it as a staff in the state legislatures. I worked there for 18 years. Then I ran afoul of one single legislator who made it his business to “get you no matter how long it takes.” Eventually, he traded his vote in exchange for an agreement from some powerful legislators to fire me.

After I was out, I learned that anyone who asked what had happened to me was told that “he did something awful but, for confidential reasons, what he did couldn’t be revealed.” I lost at least one job because the same legislators actively intervened to prevent me from getting another employment.

I was then 50 years old. I then found that nobody has much time for you at that age. I had three college degrees but I soon learned that that very expensive education wasn’t worth anything now. My parents, who worked to give me “good education” as the ticket to a bright future, would have been surprised to learn that my education seemed to be worth nothing at all.

I tried re-tooling myself for a new profession. After yet more expensive education, I found that I had picked the wrong new profession. Jobs folded underneath me one after another as whole companies failed. The only amelioration was that this time I had plenty of company. My compatriots, at least, were young enough to move on yet again.

I find myself now out of any work and afraid that I will run out of my savings before I die.

Because I was a loose ends, I had the time to look around, I found that there were all kinds of other people who had somehow, “crapped out” in the game of life. There was a long litany of lethal problems: failed health; bad marriages; deaths of close personal friends; stultifying employment; maniac bosses; and a seeming endless list of other possibilities that seemed to grow by the day. And even the little blue pills, intended to lift depression, no longer helped. It seems clear that it’s not just me. The longer anyone lives, the more likely that something really bad will happen to him or her that sucks any possibility of joy out of the rest of life.

I’m not suicidal. So no one need dial 9-1-1. But should a doctor tell me that I have terminal something or other, I’m sure that I’d respond, “That’s good to hear.”