The other day I received a renewal notice, from a professional association I belong to – or belonged to, I should say. Normally – in the old normal – I would have renewed my membership without much thought, but this time I hesitated.
It was not so much the money – over $100 – though it did cross my mind that I would be needing soon to start counting my pennies much more carefully. It was the question, why do I need this? that stopped me in my tracks.
Because you are still planning on working, I told myself – not full time, and not continuously, but you do still want to keep your hand in, right? You do still plan on taking the odd contract, making a contribution, ploughing something back, earning a few shekels here and there to pay for your travels, your hobbies, your day dreams and vices, etc, etc?
Well, yes, I do, but do I need this?
More importantly, what does renewing my professional memberships say, about how I see myself, where I am at? Can I really say I am hanging up my boots, cutting loose, embarking upon a new, post-employment life, if my programmed response to an emailed reminder that a membership is expiring is to go right online like Pavlov’s salivating dog and transfer the moolah? Who is fooling who here?
And so, I didn’t pay, and I didn’t renew my membership – and in fact, over the past few months, I have found myself balking at the renewal of certain newspaper and journal and software subscriptions also, not because I am no longer interested in this stuff – I will always, in some sense, be a political junkie, a self-improver, and a collector of what used to be called general knowledge, not because it is useful, necessarily, but because it helps make up the messy and unfinished scrapbook that is my understanding of the world – but because it is a statement of direction: I have done all that, and now I am headed elsewhere.
And so, my decision not to renew certain memberships and subscriptions is in fact a sign of renewal – a measure, not of abandonment or denial of an old and former life, but of commitment to what comes after.
That is the passive – it will come, but believe me, I have every intention of making it happen.
Just click on the embedded links. You know how to do it.