Yesterday I went to the SSA office to apply for a replacement social security card. I carried the same card with me through all of life's phases: school, military duty, work, travel. For 45 years it was tucked away safe in the inner recesses of my wallet. As each wallet wore out the card made the transition to the new one intact. A few years ago we began receiving advice to the effect that your social security card is no longer safe in your wallet. The risk of identity theft and all that. So I put the card away in a safe place. It's so safe that I don't know where it is. I've left no stone unturned or file folder unopened in my search for that elusive document. Did I file it under 'A' for abyss, or 'B' for black hole? I told that to the SSA employee who accepted my application. She said that was a familiar story. Familiar? But, were the other stories as entertaining?
I'm concerned about my social security card because I'm going to apply for benefits next month. Until now I've been a person who was fortunate enough to retire early. Now, I guess I'm officially a geezer. A social security recipient. Does that bother me? Not at all. I embrace each phase of life as it comes. While it's true that certain windows of opportunity have been permanently closed, others have opened. For instance, it's too late to become an Airborne Ranger but there's a world of opportunities available now at this stage of life that were unthinkable just a few years ago. I have to be careful and not get too busy with the unimportant things so that I can do the really good stuff, like playing with the grand kids, reading, teaching ESL, painting, learning languages, writing poetry, learning a musical instrument, and most important of all, sitting on the front porch and doing nothing but listening to the birdsong and watching traffic go by on the highway. Idleness is very important for good mental health and I'm not going to give it up. I wonder about people that think they need to be busy at something all the time. If you're one of those, try this experiment. Take at least ten minutes every day and stare off into space. You'll be glad you did.