A Teutonic Plate shifted inside of me.
I felt someone had thrown water at my face, had “hit me upside my head” and looked me dead in the eye demanding my fullest attention. Have I been squandering away my life?
Wasting my life?
Why even ask this question now when my most productive years, the salary-producing ones have ended as I have “gone on disability” and live from the benefits provided by the Veterans Administration and not from my labor?
This question shook me to the marrow of my bones a few days ago. I was attending a workshop for veterans and their family facing PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) when I felt a Greek Chorus address me with its multiple grouping of male and female voices, advising me not to squander away my life.
Later, I asked myself what does it actually mean, this “squandering” business.
And does any one intentionally set out to squander a life away? Squander. Most people only use the word sparingly, and usually when money is the focus of the inquiry. We all have heard examples in our lives: “He’s going to squander away his inheritance,” or “she squandered away all the money raised for little Jimmy’s operation,” and one of my favorites espoused by today’s pundits, ” George W. Bush squandered away all the Good Will America generated right after 9 – 11 . . .”
“Squander” hardly ever appears alone. I normally see it used with the word, “away,” as in the loss of some unique skill. “We had so much hope in his potential, but he seemed to have ‘squandered away‘ his . . . (fill in the blanks . . .”natural ability” . . . “writing talent” . . . “singing career,” etc”)
But I’m not talking about forfeiting some achievement, great wealth or some future thing.
I’m talking about Life.
How does one squander that away?
(See Part II, Squander)