Monday, October 25, 2010


"A man's never out of work. If he's worth a damn. It's just sometimes he doesn't get paid. I've gone unpaid my share and I've pulled my share of pay. But that's got nothing to do with working. A man's work is doing what he's supposed to do, and that's why he needs a catastrophe now and again to show him a bad turn isn't the end, because a bad stroke never stops a good man's work." William Least Heat-Moon in "blue highways".
It occurred to me that the above is a pretty good description of retirement as I have experienced it. A person's "work" during this chapter of life is to truly do "what he's supposed to do." Retirement gives one the freedom to make choices based on one's character, principles, and values without the constraint of placating an employer or customer.
The fellow traveler sharing his philosophy with the author concludes his musing with, "Any man's true work is to get his boots on each morning. Curiosity gets it done about as well as anything else."
I love being able to respond to curiosity during this season of life. If I read about a class, a lecture, an exhibit, a performance, etc. that interests me I now have the time to check it out.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Water for Elephants

"When you're five, you know your age down to the month. Even in your twenties you know how old you are. I'm twenty-three, you say, or maybe twenty-seven. But then in your thirties something strange starts to happen. It's a mere hiccup at first, an instant of hesitation. How old are you? Oh, I'm-you start confidently, but then you stop. You were going to say thirty-three, but you're not. You're thirty-five. And then you're bothered, because you wonder if this is the beginning of the end, It is, of course, but it's decades before you admit it."
So begins chapter one of "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen. I enjoyed reading this fascinating novel about a depression era traveling circus and the wonderful characters and animals that populate it. I greatly appreciated the author's attention to detail and the wonderful descriptions of setting up and tearing down the big top and train travel in that time.