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When is Retirement a Job?

December 23, 2020

This is the time of year for reflection and speculation. Why at 64 do I choose to create a business? This is the age when retirement was to have begun. The opportunity to sleep as long as I like, go to the store for groceries in the middle of the day, and sit by the stream until I am ready to move on. Instead I have just completed logging over 100 hours in the last two weeks for purposes of accumulating capital to fund this growth period of my business.

Its effort not directly related to helping people find how to live their lives or build skills to have the journey be joyful. What in 100 hours is joy producing?

Purpose. Is this what differentiates a task worth doing from a job or obligation? Isn’t an obligation a form of a purpose? What has made the difference between an activity you did and one that felt good? Is it the content of the activity? The result? The familiarity and skill we brought to the moment? Was it the reward or acknowledgement? From my vantage point I think Purpose is an important component.

What we do. Is this what makes the difference? Is it a game, work, a hobby or described as something else? Does getting paid affect how we think about what we do? Can we be good at something we don’t enjoy doing? Is our stamina for what we do tied to our skill or our enjoyment or need? What is my tolerance for sitting still? Could I thrive on doing nothing for days? Is working 100 hours better than sitting for the same duration? Will I notice when the line is crossed from being rewarding and enjoyable to being uncomfortable and drudgery? What will I do when I notice? Doing has been a dominate narrative of my life. Why stop now?

Pleasure. Is this the key to life? Is this what makes it worthwhile doing something? Is pleasure available in volume? When does my enjoyment for ice cream shift to unappealing? Is it in the fifth spoon or fifth quart? The second day or second month of eating ice cream? How long does sitting in the hammock remain pleasurable? Does it need to be preceded with some effort or should it be what I use to precede something less desirable?

What is your combination for Retirement?

There are many questions. There are also just as many if not more relevant answers. In the context of living a life of joy or happiness I have come to appreciate all three elements are present. The balance or mixture changes from moment to moment and between activities. It is the sum and relationship of all three that connects me with the joy in life. Work without there being pleasure or purpose is filling my time with only activity. Pleasure wanes without purpose and surprisingly without effort. Purpose as a declaration alone or for the benefit that does not include me, rings hollow. Sustained happiness depends upon recognizing what gives me pleasure, having to put effort into something, and having a purpose in proportion with the pleasure and effort. See if this resonates for you? What adjustments might you consider based on this for the coming year? Find your path and build a life of sustained happiness.