When I began my final workplace position, that spanned eight of my nineteen years of Federal employment, I promised myself that I would give up my there-to-fore soul pimp behavior. In previous positions I wouldn’t take breaks; I would stay late; I would eat my lunch at my desk and I took very little time off. I would put my heart and soul into my work. I would sell my soul for my job. That behavior never provided any extraordinary success, and rarely resulted in recognition. In other words, I sold my soul cheap. I don’t know why. Maybe it was the martyr factor. My mother always told me that I relished being a martyr, but I think being a pimp (even a soul pimp) and a martyr are mutually exclusive.
So as I began my professional finale, I was determined to be governed by reason. I wasn’t successful. I quickly sold my soul to the company store, and worked longer hours with fewer breaks, and more personal sacrifice than I ever had before. I have to admit, that I loved to hear, “Oh Jennie, you work sooooo hard,” and “Oh Jennie, you’re such a hard worker.” I even resented co-workers, usually those in supervisory positions, who didn’t acknowledge my selfless personal sacrifice (ohhh, that martyr thing is starting to make more sense).
Retirement lends itself more to martyrdom than to soul pimping. This week, in an ultimate display of martyrdom, I was flayed by the task of jelly making. I pitted six pounds of plums, ensuring that the pitted fruit was free of blood let during this task. I mashed the fruit to free the juice, like Moses, seeking freedom for my charges. There was no parting of the Red Sea, but there was a red sea of plum juice that ran down my arms, across the counter and onto the floor. Happily, my Fitbit, while not water resistant, is plum juice resistant.
I went on to cook the juice with sugar, lemon juice and pectin; pour it into sterilized jars, which I then boiled in a huge water bath. I was not burned at the stake, but I have plenty of jelly-making sacrificial burns on my arms and fingers. After eight hours, I realized that the jelly was not jelling. I was sad. I opened the jars, collected the un-jelled contents, re-sterilized the jars, recooked the fruit with additional sugar, lemon juice and pectin, refilled the re-sterilized jars, and re-boiled them in the huge water bath, re-burning some of my previous burns. It’s a repetitive process. As of this morning, the jelly has not jelled. I am sad.
When I began that final Federal work position, I hoped that I would live to see retirement. As I continue through retirement, I hope I live to see next year