Yesterday was a red letter day in my life.
My first Social Security payment whisked its way from within the bowels of a massive government bureaucracy and nestled snugly into our bank account alongside a monthly retirement annuity. Oh, the joy. Oh, the bliss of mail-box money.
It’s not that I won’t continue to work, but having the option not to work (at least full time) is enough to make me stand with arms stretched wide and do my best Braveheart imitation. “FREEE-DOM!”
There is, of course, a downside. For some years my son has affectionately called me “Old Man.” I thought nothing of it for two reasons. First, I’m not sure he has a mean bone in his body, but he is prone to an occasional outburst of sarcasm and hyperbole. Second, the name didn’t fit. I wasn’t old. I still don’t think I’m an old man. Heck, I still have all my teeth and can climb stairs, albeit with an artificial knee. But, Social Security? Those two words are the dividing line in our society, the great chasm that separates middle age from (gasp) old age.
Funny, even with the newfound moniker of “Social Security Recipient,” I don’t feel old. Relieved and blessed are better adjectives. These feelings were reinforced by a recent phone conversation my wife had with a dear friend. She told Joyce she had recently read the 60’s and 70’s were, in many instances, the most productive years for the current population. Good news, indeed. I may be on the back side of the proverbial hill, but the gravity of accumulated knowledge, experiences and wisdom should reduce the drag of youthful folly and allow me to accelerate.
As many of you know, I chose writing Christian fiction novels as my vocation for this season of my life. This choice had its inception about eight years ago and I am still “in process,” especially when it comes to learning the craft of writing. Yesterday I was reading a book that is considered a “must have,” for writers, Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White. This tiny book begins with twenty-four principles of composition. I made it to #17: Omit Needless Words, when a four word sentence caused me to slam on the brakes. “Vigorous writing is concise.” There it was. The word I didn’t know I was searching for to describe how I want my “over the hill” years to be lived…with VIGOR.
Vigor, vigorous, vigorously, with vigor–whatever form you give the word it sounds alive, moving forward, gaining speed, accomplishing good things in a good way. Isn’t it amazing how the Lord can drop a single word into your soul and that one word can change your life and affect those around you?
The dregs of my morning coffee are in the cup next to my computer, breakfast is over, I’m wearing sweats and my tattered house shoes. Life is good and it’s time for me to continue writing (with VIGOR) a story I pray will be a blessing to those who read it.
So…What’s your word for the year?