This, in retirement, is what I do one way or another every day, as well as every couple of weeks or so. And the taking of liberties brings, in turn, unbridled joy alongside deep, conflicting thoughts.
Never have I had so much freedom – to spend rewarding times with people I like and love; to enjoy, in my own way a pace, the physical and intellectual challenges of cultivation; and, essentially, to own my in-tray and change it’s order without catastrophe following. Every day is a good day, and for this I have freedom and autonomy to think.
But what a contrast is the lot of those I meet as I chair Mental Health Managers Hearings. Often they ‘choose’ not to come: their mental state will not allow them to appear in a room filled with those who, by personal experience or the recounting of others, will report verbally on the intimate details of their lives as though they were not present, and conclude overwhelmingly and, it seems, unanimously – whether managers or professionals – that ‘it would be best for you to stay here and be helped’. This, and the ‘need for the public and yourself to be protected’, signals a door never really half open is about to close again. Next, the Tribunal; but at least skilled representation is assured this time, rather than at best, and then infrequently, only a lay advocate.
In one life the continuous and almost total opportunity and power to fulfil my own ends and determine the journey towards them. In the other, suspending liberties – putting them into limbo. The one brings the other into sharp and uncomfortable relief.
Written by Morton Warner, Emeritus Professor, WIHSC