My hero, Orr

I learned there is no perfect time in life to do the things that one wants to do; I didn’t want to have regrets that my father had late in his life when he regretted not living as much as he’d like before he was too old to do so.

I want to drive less and walk more. I want to continue to follow a spiritual path, belong to a synagogue, be active in a social cause, be of service to those who need a helping hand in order to sustain their lives.  As a copywriter I’m interested in fundraising.  I may volunteer in the sciences, either a non profit focused on cardiology or neurology or cognitive sciences or disabilities.  I’d like to build the readership of this blog using social media and networking. I’d like to take technical illustration and drawing classes, collect writing instruments and paraphernalia, and become a scribe, possibly in Hebrew.  I have numerous passages from our prayer book collected already and will start with these in the springtime.  I want to share with those close to me in my family, and with friends.

It wasn’t until the last few years that I started to develop interests outside of work, rather than holding them off until retired, in the future. With our financial advisor, we created a retirement plan. Part of the plan included moving away from the cold of Massachusetts.

How to escape and live well

Orr, a fictional character, a World War II bomber pilot in the farcical novel Catch-22, by Joseph Heller seemed to have handled his life’s struggles the right way.  He is one of my life heroes for how he surreptitiously managed to escape the war (and live happily ever after) while everyone thought he was crazy.   Every time he flew he crashed his plane.  When he eventually succeeded, he crashed his plane in the war near a neutral country like Sweden and the truth was revealed.  It wasn’t that he was a bad pilot; he was actually practicing how to crash and escape the war.  What a plan developed in plain sight of everyone else!  How clever!

Another hero

Andy Dufresne, the protagonist in Stephen King’s classic 1994 Shawshank Redemption movie is another hero of mine.  He cleverly planned his escape route another way, also in plain sight of his fellow prisoners, prison guards and warden. He was a model prisoner. He volunteered in the prison library, but faked out everyone, as he secretly carved out an escape route from deep inside his prison cell. He was given two life sentences for killing his wife and her lover, and had the time to devise a plan to escape.  He too developed a plan and succeeded.

I learned how to survive and even prosper at my last place of employment by adjusting my attitude, and accepting the position for what it was, rather than trying to bend it into something it was not or could not become. I had to re-invent myself in the process, learn some new tricks, and remain open and agile, and grateful for what I had instead of fantasies about what I didn’t.

The future is not today’s problem.  Nor is the past. It is best to keep my mind and body in the present, so that’s what I aim to do each day.  All I really have is today’s 24 hours and all I need to do is be open and let it happen in the day.  In the past I got emotional when things didn’t happen according to my mind.  No need to get stuck in it!  Tomorrow would come and I would deal with tomorrow when tomorrow came.

I gave notice last Tuesday. I’m retiring in a few weeks. There was surprise by senior management as I had given no indication that retirement was on my mind.  I’ll be 66 in a few weeks (February 3), and I have a plan for the beginning of the rest of my life.


Published by Richard Halpern

Retired (but busy) after a lengthy career in business marketing, communications and research. Worked at four start-ups and one turnaround. Now volunteer doing prospect research for a climate activity and social advocacy non profit, amongst other things.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: