The law of conservation of energy states that energy can neither created nor destroyed; it can only be transferred or transformed. So for almost 45 years I have been providing a huge amount of energy to my job; especially over the last 10 years. Where will go when I retire? The energy is constant per the law; it has to be expended somewhere. But how? Where on earth will I find a place to offload all that energy?
There are two components in the expenditure of energy: mental and physical. Work was almost exclusively physical when I began there all those years ago. Hard, hard labor in unthinkable conditions; crawling, climbing, and even standing on your head at times. Tight, seriously confined, spaces either outside in the dead of winter or worse, when the heating elements were all energized to heat the steel for welding. I was once stooped in a corner, bent over with a torch cutting steel. The gold chain I wore around my neck was hanging out while I was leaning over and when I leaned back upright it settled back upon my throat/chest area, promptly causing a 2nd degree burn. Hot….very hot. I’ve had the soles of my work boots melt as I tried to work my way across the metal floor of a tank with all the heat lit up on the opposite side.
But time and careers move along and I found myself performing far more mental work and far less physical. Maybe it’s my perspective or maybe it’s just age, but I distinctly recall being far less tired after physical work than a day heavy with mental work.
No matter, the fact remains that I work hard for a very long time. Usually 7 days a week for a great number of years. The last 5 or 6 years I’ve not often gone to work weekends but with remote access laptops and cell phones, work comes home with you. And weekdays were often 13 or 14 hours days. A lot of energy.
And now what do I do with all that energy? Just had two (and soon to be three) massive oaks dropped to the ground, all waiting to be cut into pieces and split for burning. Even at 2 or 3 hours a day, it’ll be fall by the time all the wood is cut, split, and stacked. So there’s some energy. But nowhere near all of it. Am I destined to the jitters every night from all that pent up energy?
There’s all the yardwork, the grandchildren, travel, reading, collecting arrowheads, metal detecting, bike riding, and hiking. To name a few in absolutely no order. But I remain concerned it won’t be enough…..
I’m down to the short strokes now; 10 working days, not that I will be working them all. Certainly my last day will be incomplete; I will go in at 4:30 as usual so I can say farewell to my incredible team of radiographers on 3rd shift. But I don’t expect to see much more than noon, if indeed that. My retirement party is next week and I am not convinced I’ll want to go in the next day. So while the count is not finalized, it is absolute at no more than 10. Such a weird, even surreal, feeling. I swear the last two weeks felt like the longest ever yet I have no doubt that next two will be doubly so! Yet as anxiously I await the end of the waiting, I am extremely concerned about driving out through that gate on last time…it will be more difficult than I can express to you dear reader. But through it I must go – it is time.