I’m writing this on my 62nd birthday. That has no special significance, but if you’re like me, birthdays become more about reflection than celebration as the years go by.
Men who turned 62 during the year I was born were already beating the odds, as the average lifespan for men born just prior to 1900 was less than 50. In 1990 my dad died at the age of 73, which beat the average of his peers by 23 years or so. The Second World War and Korea took their toll on that group of men.
So, how long will I live? Who knows? Beyond the decisions we make in risk-taking and lifestyle choices, it’s mostly the luck of the draw. How will I live? That’s up to me.
My daughter got me the book “The Second Half” by Bob Buford last year. The main point of the book is that if you look at life the way you might look at a football or basketball game, you really need to play both halves. He describes and discusses ways to make the second half (or so) of life more meaningful and valuable. A lot of what he talks about deals with using our skills and experience to make a positive difference in the world.
You don’t need to be retired to do that, and in fact starting early in thinking of what “second half” goals we have is a very good idea.
I’m still working, and plan to for some time to come, but it is true that I already have more time to get involved in things these days. I just need to use that time more wisely.
While I do know of people who retired from work and embraced joyfully the art of relaxation, in general it seems that people who keep working – for profit or as volunteers – seem happier than people who don’t.
Nobody knows what will happen with the economy, or society in general, living as we do in such a tumultuous time. Maybe we’ll all be trying to make ends meet until the end. But, optimist that I am, I’m looking forward to plunging forward into whatever comes my way in the years to come, and trying to make my days worthwhile.
By the way: I think it is also worthwhile to spend some time on a recliner!