Retirement Reflections #2: UNSUBSCRIBE

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Certain English words elicit strong emotions for me. Words such as “charge” which could refer to a light brigade or the expenditure of a significant amount of money. Likewise “reboot” could refer to a mangled computer hard drive with the obligatory hour or more of AI technological struggle (yes, I am a PC user!). More recently my favoutire word is “unsubscribe.”

Almost daily I try to clean up my email INBOX and defend its boundaries from a seemingly endless number of information providers, initiative inviters, shameless promoters and generally meddlers from any and all regions of the world. Each day I repeat the ritual of unsubscribing, only to be told that such action will not become effective for a few weeks or a few months. This is good to know, and yes, I do know how to block interlopers locally. I just looked at my spam and blocked senders’ folder. It was a trip down memory lane going back more than a year.

I am asked why I want to unsubscribe and given options such as “I don’t want to receive these emails any longer;” “I never asked to receive these emails n the first place;” “There are simply too many.” The list of options varies from organization to organization. Some are more polite than others. Some simply say “thanks for the memories” and leave me alone. Others say, “are you sure,” or in some cases “are you really sure” which I suppose means am I daft? Some imply that life will never be the same and “think what you are missing.” OK. Been there! Done that! Now please take me off your list, please!

Now things were not always like this. Allow me to introduce you to Norman, a parishioner in my first parish in a semi-rural community on Vancouver Island in the early 1990s. A confirmed bachelor, Norman taught high school science until retirement. He was an amateur astronomer, a musician, a photographer and an avid reader. Did I say reader? During a period of illness I asked a parishioner to help him with daily chores. One of these was to fetch his mail from the local post office. Most months he received by mail as many as thirty-two magazines. he was so hungry for knowledge. As a solitary he was deeply involved in the world of ideas and possibilities. He kept every single back issue on trestle tables in his basement. Has the house caught fire you could have seen the inferno from space.

So how I ask would Norman have unsubscribed from these periodicals? Would he ever have unsubscribed? And when he died, what ever happened to all those magazines. to unsubscribe he might have phoned the publisher – people answered the phone in those days. He could have written a letter. “Dear sir” or “To whom it may concern.” He probably paid the subscription by cheque so failing to update his MasterCard information would not do the trick.

Obviously times are different now, and thankfully so. The world is at our fingertips through all sorts of media, social and not so social. Email and other similar communication are a mixed blessing. We are so privileged to be able to access information, data and experience in so many ways and so easily. That said, there certainly is a time to push back from the wharf of available information and reduce our inputs. I actually enjoy unsubscribing to lists in an almost hobby like fashion. It does help be focus on what is most important for me as I continue the wonderful transition into this new life moment called retirement.

One thought on “Retirement Reflections #2: UNSUBSCRIBE

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  1. I unsubscribe daily too! Went through my Instagram and tried to unfollow some but I couldn’t get thé do not follow option! Have to figure out how to fix this. Like is a challenge but persistance will pay off!


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