All Good Things
by Jake Block
“There is an end to everything, to good things as well.” (Chaucer, circa 1734)
I’ve successfully completed two careers to date. I spent 20 years in the United States Air Force, and then another 13 years working with a branch of a Fortune 500 company until I decided to retire from corporate employment. The year was 2002, and I was 52 years of age. The plan was to stop working and make the most of an early retirement. Few people get that luxury these days, so we sold everything in California and moved to Tennessee, buying a nice house that we could basically rebuild to suit our needs and then we could relax, travel and just enjoy life in a less stressful environment. We had made good investments and we no longer needed to work to survive.
Fates smile or they don’t, and they can change your plans with a simple medical diagnosis. My mother-in-law was diagnosed with dementia that turned out to be a form of Alzheimer’s disease and our retirement became more about providing the care that she needed to maintaing a comfortable quality of life for as long as we could provide it for her. Good days, bad days and years that blurred together in an endless grayness of taking care of someone whose condition was incurable and progressive saw 14 years of “retirement” circle the drain and disappear. 52 became 66 and our “early retirement” had morphed into simply being caregivers. I don’t regret it. There are duties and obligations that you take on with family, and I kept faith with my duty as long as I could, but eventually, Alzheimer’s becomes more than most can handle without skilled medical training.
Now, with my 88 year old mother-in-law safely in the hands of medical professionals for as long as she has left to live we find ourselves at the end of our unofficial career as caretakers, and we’re looking forward now to taking it easy, doing a bit of traveling, being able to just take off to do some photography on the road whenever the urge strikes and, overall, trying to find some of the golden years they talked about during our “working years.” So far, we’ve been so busy we wouldn’t recognize them if they were sitting right in front of us. But maybe now, with this “third career” at an end…
Still, I have had another career that has run simultaneous to these three, in the background, at times more prevalent than at others, since 1971 when I discovered Satanism as the name and explanation for my life. And since 1971, I have spent the past 45 years working to make Satanism work for myself and others, first as a member and the Administrator of The Church of Satan under Anton LaVey and then, after his death, in an effort to keep his message and vision of Satanism alive and thriving in a world that has become less meritocratic, and more and more based on entitlement and self-assumed importance and arrogant demand. My work ethic is far from that of those who have come behind and Satanism as I knew (and know) it is morphing into a grayness and lifeless parody of what it had been in my youth. They mouth the words, but deeds and doings are few and far between. Now, at 66, I begin to wonder why I continue to hope that the “Satanists” of today will pull themselves up by their bootstraps and become responsible, self-sufficient and proud to carry the banner of the Left Hand Path and self-illumination. When I look out and see Satanists trying to meld with those outside the fold, becoming more and more homogenous, bland and, as Thomas has described them, Right Hand Path Satanists, I wonder if my energies and efforts might be better put to use in enjoying how ever many years I have left on the path myself.
For the past several years, it has been my honor to serve as an advisor to The Sect of the Horned God, under the leadership of Thomas LeRoy and Mistress Babylon Consort. They’ve inspired me and it has been a pleasure to see The Sect grow by leaps and bounds during this time. We’ve carried out some fun and worthwhile projects together, and I am justifiably proud to say that I am a member of The Sect of The Horned God for what it is, and their vision of what it is to become. But at 66, I know that my energy is much more limited than it has been, and there’s a limited time on my viability… how long I or anyone else has is the great unknown in life’s equation. And I know that as I get older, it’s pretty much a given that my effectiveness will begin to suffer as my energy begins to decline. Sooooooooo… my plan is to retire one final time at the age of 70, if I can make it, which would be in the year 2020. That seems like a goal that’s attainable, at this point (knocking on wood like a woodpecker in heat.)
It will be different being an observer, rather than a participant, at that point, I’m sure. And I am hoping that the current state of “Satanism” as a web-driven LARP activity for most will begin to revitalize as those involved gain a little maturity and desire to see their investments in time and effort pay off. I hope so, but it is what it is. My investments have paid off well, despite downturns in the market. Pendulums swing… remember to duck when it starts to swing back the other way!
The Orders of The Sect of the Horned God