By the time that this column is published, I will be retired.
After 34 years of employment with Delaware County, I decided earlier this year that it was time to step down and allow someone else to take over the directorship of the Office for the Aging.
Also in mind was my growing sense that if I wanted to discover who I was, aside from who I've been, this is a good time in my life to start.
The possibility that we may be on the verge of a worldwide depression notwithstanding, I still feel fairly confident about this decision.
Because of some publicity about my impending retirement, I've been congratulated by dozens of well-wishers and have predictably been asked the same two questions: "What are you going to do now?" and variations of "how will your wife deal with your being underfoot every day."
My response to the second question has been that unlike many conventional households where "the wife" has a strong need to rule the roost, my wife is viewing the retirement phenomenon as merely having another hand on deck.
As for the first question, now this is something that scares me a bit.
I believe that there is a purpose behind each and every circumstance that we experience.
I believe that every choice that we make has a consequence that hinges on whether this choice smacks of self-indulgence or is done to benefit the world around us.
These consequences are not necessarily good or bad, but may lead to our having to "learn the hard way" if we've failed to be mindful about the impact of our choices.
This belief system has led to an increase of sleepless nights as I've battled my retirement options out with my subconscious.
In a prior column, I referenced humanitarian Albert Schweitzer and his advice: "I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know; the ones who are really happy are those who have sought out and found how to serve."
I guess this is one example of how an opinion can be expressed, noted, and then proceed to ripple through time to hunt down and eventually impose philosophical quandaries on unsuspecting strangers. The more noble part of my character is holding up none other than Albert Schweitzer as a role model for my destiny. Apparently "Joe Noble" has intentions of holding me accountable to my belief system.
Then on the other hand there's the "rolling stone" in my personality that keeps leading me back to eBay, reviewing auctions on secondhand RVs, dreaming of the open road, and promising to reunite me with my carefree persona from 40 years ago.
There are visions of returning to the golf course and playing incessantly until I can get my handicap down to single digits.
There is the allure of cloistering myself into the workshop and finally crafting those "objets d'art" that the world has been deprived of for all of these years.
To some extent, at least until the money runs out, the world is my oyster.
Do I want to have a carefree, great time on the one hand or be "really happy" on the other?
On the 25th of this month we (a group of like minded people) will be convening our fourth annual 4C Camp for adults at Camp Shankitunk in DeLancey.
There will be between 60 and 80 adults of all ages sharing four days and three nights of camp activities. Most will have expectations of reconnecting with their youthful nature and recharging their respective spirits in preparation for whatever life has in store for them next.
This has been a powerful event for all of us and promises to grow and continue as campers share their experiences with their friends and neighbors.
4C Camp is not all about playing, however. The 4C stands for "Camping to Create Caring Communities." The camp planning committee has envisioned this event as a vehicle to sensitize campers to the need to import the sense of community experienced at 4C Camp back to their respective neighborhoods and communities.
In these troubling times when opposing ideologies threaten to tear this nation apart, a little injection of civility at the local level just might take wing and help alienated neighbors find common ground.
From this we are beginning to develop a grander vision. At the August camp we will begin a conversation about the creation of an umbrella organization that would promote community building activities in the area as well as to enrich already established initiatives.
It might be called something like: "Coalition to Create Caring Communities" and might offer services such as a best practices newsletter, grant funding, and networking opportunities for member organizations. This organization would be free from government funding (something that in this economic climate we probably won't have to worry about), relying on community resources themselves to grow the concept.
The reason that I've introduced the 4C Camp piece into this, my little retirement soliloquy is that I think I do have an answer to the "What are you going to do now?" question.
Much, though, depends on others and their buy-in of this vision and much depends on how effective "Joe Noble" is in influencing my quest to recapture the "rolling stone" days of old.
I guess this promises to offer more sleepless nights in the future, unless of course I can make peace with the hounds of nobility that are fresh on my heels.
Tom Briggs is former executive director of the Delaware County Office for the Aging. 'Senior Scene' columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/seniorscene.
By the time that this column is published, I will be retired.
Keep pets safe in cold, snowy season
Keeping your pets warm and safe is an important part of your winter weather routine. Take a look at these 10 points to help make your pets' snowy season happy and healthy.Continued ...
Carving a new Thankgiving tradition: Readers share holiday recipes
The menu of the first Thanksgiving in 1621 is much different than that of the traditional meal today.Continued ...
It takes a village
Amid the rural setting snuggled in scenic beauty bustles the Hobart Book Village.Continued ...
Stories to be told: Experts offer tips to capture veterans' tales
Veterans Day is a time to honor all those who have served our nation. Take time on Monday to honor them by learning from their experiences.Continued ...
Get creative with costumes
Halloween is right around the corner. As the leaves dry to a crunch and spooky decorations spring up around the neighborhoods, many people begin to imagine what they can become for that one night.Continued ...
- Keep pets safe in cold, snowy season
- Around The Arts
Opportunities abound for career in the arts
I was recently asked to speak at a local high school about my career path and how I came to work in the arts. It was interesting speaking with these seniors, and discussing their hopes for life after high school.Continued ...
The art of the appraisal explained by one who knows
So often in this column my co-writer, Brittany, and I talk about how art is everywhere and can be appreciated by all. Perhaps because of my passion for everyday art, there is one part of the art world I just cannot grasp -- art appraisal. How can you put a value on something so seemingly subjective? So, I set out to learn more about this industry.Continued ...
Flash mobs more theatrical production than dance
Most people are familiar with the term "flash mob." It's associated with groups of people congregating briefly to the surprise of the surrounding public, and often incorporates a choreographed dance. You've probably been witness to one, or you've probably seen one online, as they are extensively documented -- there are more than 10,000 results on YouTube if you search for flash mobs.Continued ...
Art found in the foods at local road stands, markets
Artisanal foods have become quite popular in recent years, with some abuse of the term by mass-retailers and fast food restaurants.Continued ...
'Record Breaker' exhibit to be at Orphic Gallery
"Record Breaker," featuring the work of Greg Frederick, will open Saturday at the Orphic Gallery in Roxubry.Continued ...
- Opportunities abound for career in the arts
- Music Beat
Hairstylist finds balance through playing cello
Catch 22 is a successful American ska/punk band that has released several albums and has a record deal with the Chicago-based label, Victory Records. Although the band has its roots in New Jersey, founding member Ryan Eldred has friends with whom he produces recordings in Walton During one of Eldred's visits to Walton, he met Ann Jones, a home-schooled native of Walton, an enthusiastic cellist and successful professional hairstylist.Continued ...
Music Industry Tips
Here are some of Ann Jones' guiding principles:Continued ...
Do everything you can to show your support of all arts
Last week, a small woman of modest demeanor and appearance walked quietly on stage at the Glimmerglass Festival Theatre and seemed pleased but genuinely surprised when the standing room only audience rose spontaneously to its feet, expressing their respect with thunderous applause.Continued ...
Many things go into choosing, protecting a band's name
Musicians who are trying to build the popularity of their band have an almost unending list of responsibilities. They need to keep their musical skills strong, take care of musical equipment, and if they are really thinking about a future career, they should also write their own music.Continued ...
Music Industry Tips About Professional Musicians
Musicians know that every performance they play is an audition for their next engagement.Continued ...
- Hairstylist finds balance through playing cello
- Parenting Imperfect
Of kids, phone calls and toilet paper
We have reached that golden age when both kids are responsible enough to be trusted alone for short periods of time.Continued ...
A Halloween message to my future self
I'm writing this column a few days before Halloween. And I'm writing this mostly for my future self, as a reminder of the lessons learned this particular last week in October.Continued ...
My brain is losing its connection to eyes, teeth
I'm beginning to have grave doubts about my brain's ability to remember things.Continued ...
Celebrate small accomplishments of best laid plans
My summer plans always seem so reasonable when I make them in May. Come late-August, I wonder what the heck past-me was thinking.Continued ...
Vacation was great ... until today
Up until today, our family vacation has gone much better than expected. Today, however, was a high entropy day.Continued ...
- Of kids, phone calls and toilet paper
- Senior scene
As Time Goes By: How to find out if you're naughty or nice
"You better watch out, you better not pout," the fat man in the red suit is giving a shout!Continued ...
From the Office: Guardianship can be a complicated legal issue
Sometimes individuals cannot care for themselves. In New York, guardianship laws exist to empower others to take care of children and adults who need help to care for their persons and/or their property. This is the first of a two-part column that explores the issues and the law of guardianship in New York state.Continued ...
Looking Back: Pinch your pennies, especially by reading the fine print
Penny pinching is just that -- pinching pennies. The worsening economy is something that is reflected on so many, many faces: Unhappiness, irritability and just plain "I don't know what to do … what's next? All is so unbelievable!!Continued ...
Social Security: Start an online holiday tradition at www.socialsecurity.gov
As we approach this holiday season, I want to share an informative article written by a fellow Social Security employee. I hope you enjoy it.Continued ...
As Time Goes By: Fuggedabout 'tempus fugit' in not-so-fun times
Someone recently asked me if I had one wish, what it would be?Continued ...
- As Time Goes By: How to find out if you're naughty or nice
- Tech, GP
Thankful hard-disk shortage is about over, and counting my blessings
Well, I'm almost ready to let out a cheer.Continued ...
Businesses need backups for their computer people, systems
In the interest of full disclosure, I want to let you know that I have taken a new position, professionally. I recently joined Eastman Associates, a local general contractor, to do its IT work, as well as taking care of some other functions of the business.Continued ...
Windows 8 seems to be made for the good of Microsoft, not the user
By Bruce Endries The software company everybody loves to hate, Microsoft, recently released what it calls a "consumer preview" of their next operating system, Windows 8.Continued ...
The Granite State got it right on software purchases
Believe it or not, I have found a bright spot in the political landscape, amid all the vitriolic partisan fighting.Continued ...
Visit a construction site and you'll probably find an iPad
It was just about two years ago now, that the iPad came out, and I wrote a column about it. At that time, I went out on a limb and said that thought it was a product which would fill certain niches very well, but that it wasn't very likely to fill in for what is normally considered a computer.Continued ...
- Thankful hard-disk shortage is about over, and counting my blessings
- Teen Talk
Teenhood Today: Carols, cookies and cacti
I know Christmas is still two weeks away, but I have been eagerly anticipating it for months.Continued ...
A Word of Advice: Digital speak doesn't translate
In an earlier article, I wrote about the importance of conversation as a lost art, however, after holding a few conversations with some fellow youths, I felt older than I should have.Continued ...
On the Go: We need to rethink holidays' meaning
The end of November smells like comfort. Our bellies are full and our wallets are empty.Continued ...
Weekend Reviews: 'My So-Called Life' mirrors real teen life
I think that everybody has that one thing, whether itâ€™s a book or a movie or a band or anything else, that they are so deeply infatuated with they simply canâ€™t contain themselves.Continued ...
Teenhood Today: We can take message of 'The Wizard of Oz' to heart
As I'm writing this, I'm about to get ready for opening night of our school's production of "The Wizard of Oz." By the time you read this, the play will have been over for about two weeks. So it will be ancient history. But for the time being, it's a pretty big part of my life. I am, or was, Dorothy.Continued ...
- Teenhood Today: Carols, cookies and cacti