Most of us were raised with the idea that we would retire when we reached a certain age. When I was young, I looked at retired people who were as old as I am now and they never looked happy. I ended up thinking that retirement was not all it was cracked up to be.
Many cultures have had a much more reverential attitude toward their elders. They were not put out to pasture but sought out for their wisdom and experience. Their role in the society was to educate the younger members and pass along their valuable knowledge and skills. This would keep a person active until the day they were ready to move on.
I decided at a very young age that I would not retire. Ideally, the difference between my retirement and the preceding most of my life would be that I could make whatever I felt like making. There was a saying in the Old West that a guy died with his boots on. That’s for me. I’ll leave the porch and the rocking chair for someone else.
I don’t think I could be happy without being able to make things. My wife calls me kinetic. Some of our Spanish speaking friends put it another way: muy nervioso. I’ve never been able to sit still. I’m sure I won many a game of chess because I drove my opponent to distraction by constantly jumping up and pacing around. I’m still like that. The hardest thing for me is to rest. Five minutes of sitting and I’m up and out to the shop or off to the grocery store or just pacing around in the backyard. My brain does not seem to work if my body is not moving.
I’ve got more to say about this but I’ll save it for next time.