A few months ago I finally got around to installing Office 2007. Although I’m still using Word 2003 for most of my work, I’m trying to get up to speed with Word 2007 for a variety of reasons, not least of which is to be able to continue helping Word users, which includes updating the articles at my Word FAQ site.
One of the new features in Word 2007 that intrigues me is the ability to post to a blog site. It occurred to me that writing a blog might give me an opportunity to use Word 2007 more. I investigated the setup at WordPress and was impressed, but could I really find any excuse for adding to the blog pollution already on the Web? In my online research on various topics I’d run across plenty of blogs that seemed to be just as unfocused as my Google search terms, but it seemed to me that the best blogs have some sort of unifying theme, and I couldn’t imagine what that might be.
The answer came to me, as such answers often do, while I was walking. Barring early-morning appointments or inclement weather, and aside from the two days a week that I have ballet classes, I walk two miles a day. During those walks (on a more-or-less invariable route), I have ample opportunity for rumination, and I often come up with thoughts I might be inclined to share. So I thought I’d start this WalkThoughts blog to record my thoughts on the Topic of the Day, whatever that might be.
Today I got to thinking about Heaven. There was an article in this morning’s Religion section about whether or not dogs go to Heaven, or whether there’s a Heaven for dogs, or whatever. Not being a dog owner, I don’t have an opinion on that, but I was thinking about how Heaven (or whatever sort of afterlife, if any, you believe in) wouldn’t be very heavenly without your favorite pet, if you’re that way inclined. On the other hand, however, some people’s idea of Heaven might be a place where they’re not bothered by other people’s pets. I’ll leave you to think about that.
Where I went from that, though, was thinking about what people would do in Heaven. I imagine some people might think it would be great not to have to do anything, but surely that would get old pretty quickly. It’s futile to speculate about an uncertain afterlife, however, and I realized that where I was going with this was to think about retirement and how people deal with it.
People who’ve worked hard all their lives may very well think that the best thing about retirement is not having to work any more. Or not having to get up at a certain time. Or not having to be answerable to a boss. Whatever. But that soon gets old, too.
And so will they if they don’t have meaningful work to do. I think man was meant to do work. Of course, as the saying goes, it’s not work if you enjoy it. Some people are lucky enough to do enjoyable work during their careers; others find enjoyable “work” in an avocation. But there’s no quicker route to feeling old and useless than to stop doing any kind of work at all. This is not usually an issue for women, especially those whose careers have been in the home. We all know that “women’s work is never done.” They’re mostly used to being underappreciated, too.
But the most vital key to retirement, it seems to me, is to have something to fill your time that is not only intrinsically enjoyable and rewarding but also appreciated by others. We all need to be needed, and it is when we stop feeling needed that we start dying.