The concept of retirement is a relatively new thing proposed by German Chancellor Otto Bismarck in 1889. “Those who are disabled from work by age and invalidity have a well-grounded claim to care from the state”, he said. It wasn’t until post WW2 that the concept came to the new world and since then, has been equated to being free – “Freedom 55”.
I have been lucky in that by complete chance, I chose a field that has allowed me to make a good wage, be challenged and have fun every day. I still get people asking me when I’m going to retire so my response to them is “I retired in 1981 when I graduated and I have been having fun ever since.”
That doesn’t mean that I might like to have the ability to focus on different things going forward, but as long as I can get paid to do the things I like to do, why would I quit working? It also doesn’t mean that circumstance might change. I realize that life is uncertain and that we have to be able to adapt.
I have read a number of books on Gerontology and there are two things that scientists believe contribute to long healthy lives. Controlling what we eat or a calorie reduced diet and having a reason to live. The reason to live must have consequences for you and others to overcome our innate desire to be lazy. Gerontologists believe that by studying something called the “The Longevity Quotient”, humans should have a healthy life span of 200 years. Gerontologists consider aging a disease and continue to study and propose ways to maximize a human life.
For me the drive to keep learning, to make the world a better place, to advance science and knowledge and make music, is what I call “The Fire”. Without the fire I wouldn’t know what to do and I’m sure my days would be numbered.
Track #12 on the album “Wind & Fire”