August 24, 2017 (Thursday)

by Yule Heibel on August 23, 2018

My head feels heavy, I don’t feel nimble this morning. Last night I took an antihistamine because I saw for the first time in a very long time a very pronounced histamine-release hive or welt on my skin. I hope I’m not heading into that clusterfuck syndrome again.

W. and I meet people, and if they are our age or a bit younger, they talk about retirement, how they’re going to do it. It occurred to me that this is what we don’t want – for the next big transition to be “retirement.” And also that we don’t really know what retirement is supposed to mean. I think we both still envision ourselves as doing something. There’s some kind of difference I can’t quite define between the kind of “doing” we think – perhaps delusionally – we’ll still do, and the kind of “doing” retirees (or wannabe/in-the-planning-stages retirees) think they’re going to do.

It doesn’t seem like the latter is ever an encore. It’s more like moving from the stage to the audience. I supposed that consumption (by an audience) can be a sort of production (of meaning, e.g.: reception theory kind of proved that). But it’s not like you’re behind the scenes directing or writing the script; and you’re not on stage playing the main parts or even the chorus. But wait, in a way you are, except now, in the classic retirement model, it’s a play-within-a-play.

“All the world’s a stage” is right, but (and?) it’s a multilevel play. Perhaps I’m not seeing us at this “next” level – because it’s not really a level at all. You’re still not the director, the writer, composer, librettist, or even the set designer. You are on a second tier stage instead, following a scripted set of directions derived from who-knows-where.

For me, being here often feels like what a retirement scripted by someone else would feel like. I guess I don’t want to seize the means of production so much as the means of creation.

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