Jul 15, 2006

Retirement and Some Other Stuff

(click on image to enlarge) This is a picture I took of a Round-Tailed Ground Squirrel recently. There is nothing remarkable about spying one of these guys, they are everywhere around here. Notice how he blends into his surroundings. This is a survival adaptation. These squirrels are omnivorous. They eat mostly plants and seeds, but also eat insects and carrion. They are active during the day and at twilight. They hibernate in winter and estivate (sleep during the hot summer). They live in colonies and their numerous burrows can be a nuisance.' Here's something about men that I have observed. Ask 99% of 30-year old men if they would like to chuck their work-a-day lives for a life of leisure and they will say yes. We all think we want a life of leisure, when it comes time to make that choice, it is a another matter all together. I have a friend who decided to quit work in his early fifties and devote his remaining years to doing what he darn well pleases. That was 6 years ago and he has never looked back with a moment's regret. He found a hobby that takes much of his time and he says he doesn't worry about money and never runs out of things to do. I, on the other hand, continue to work and I worry about money all the time, despite having much more money than my friend. I am not sure what I would find to occupy my time if I didn't have to go to work. I imagine I won't have enough money to maintain my so-called lifestyle. I have thought a lot about why we are so different in our view of retirement. The lovely Mrs. Sneed gave me a copy of the latest Harvard Mental Health Letter because it had an article about happiness in retirement. The article was in the Questions and Answer portion of the newsletter, written by Dr. Michael Craig Miller, Editor In Chief. The question asked was, "What are the signs that a person will be happy in retirement?" His answer seems obvious, but knowing and doing are different things. In his answer Dr. Miller cited a the work of Dr. George Vaillant, also from the Harvard School of Medicine. Dr. Vaillant and his colleagues have conducted a study called the Study of Adult Development which has followed 700 men born around 1929, for the last 30 years. In his findings Dr. Vaillant found that men who organized their lives around their work tended to be less happy in retirement than those who had a more well-rounded approach to their lives. Men who have jobs that are more prestigious and pay well tend to have a harder time letting go of them than men who see a job as just a job. They seem to define their value by what they do or how much money they have. Men with friends, family and interests outside their work are happier in retirement. I suppose I better get a hobby or I will be working until they carry me out. Things in this blog represented to be fact, may or may not actually be true. The writer is frequently wrong and sometimes just full of it. Tag:

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