So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Waiting for room temperature to set in
I had a long talk on the phone with a good buddy of mine. We talked about a lot of things. My friend is planning an early retirement and has a lot of things he wants to do. He’ll do them too. I know that because he does a lot of things now. He’s not afraid to step outside his comfort zone.
He tells me that a lot of his coworkers plan to watch TV and sit on the porch when they retire. After all, they say, what more is there?
My daughter tells me of someone she knows who just lost their job due to the factory closing. While that’s not good, the workers were given very generous severance bonuses, including a full 6 months pay.
“Now would be a good time to follow your dreams,” my daughter said.
“I don’t have any,” her friend said.
Sad really. Her biggest wish was to get another mindless factory job.
On the end of the spectrum, a good friend of mine was in a similar situation. He called his unemployment checks “artist grants.” Art was always a part time thing for him, but after the factory closed, he threw himself into it full time. In a year he produced a huge body of work, painting, photography, graphics, CD covers, experimental sculptures, theater posters -you name it, he probably did it.
At the same time, he read constantly, concentrating on philosophy. Many people thought he was wasting his time.
Now some people recommend that you should treat unemployment like a full time job. Every day you should put all your efforts into finding the next job. My buddy threw himself into his art instead. When the checks finally stopped, he’d discovered that by living very frugally it was possible to live selling art. He was very happy.
Then one day he had a massive stroke and almost died. For days he was totally unresponsive. Once he regained consciousness, he was often confused and his memory was bad. He knew there were 12 months in the year, but he could not name them. His body was totally paralyzed. With years of therapy, he was able to regain control of his left side. His memory came back. Eventually he moved from the nursing home to an apartment.
He said that all the philosophy he read before his stroke helped get him through the hard times. Prints of the art he made before the stroke is still generating income for him. He’s retrained himself to work with his left hand and is making new art too. In spite of his physical limitations, he’s in excellent spirits. Life is still interesting for him. After all, he still has his dream of art.
Sure beats the heck out of watching TV, waiting to die.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.