Over the past five years I have adjusted to the reality and beauty of simplicity. Having retired from a job that I was on call 24/7 and that was at least moderately stressful each day, it has been a process to slow down and smell the roses.
When I was involved with my career I immersed myself in all aspects of it. From personally visually inspecting the over one hundred academic buildings that I was responsible for to becoming involved with any committees and groups that I believed could aid my department as well as my great love…the University.
More often than not my thoughts were filled with work even when I was away from it. This can become a compelling and beguiling siren song…and a good excuse to not be involved with the many other facets of life that are so enriching and rewarding.
Since my retirement I have endeavored to focus on the simplicity and beauty of living. Often when former colleagues ask me what I am doing now that I am retired…when I respond that I am enjoying life…they look somewhat perplexed.
But, isn’t there more than devoting all of your time to career and it’s fools gold? It goes without saying that I worked thirty-two years, two months and three weeks at a job that I loved from a compelling necessity to make a living. However in this short life we are given isn’t there more to be sought and experience than another work challenge?
Robin Williams portraying english teacher John Keating in the movie Dead Poet’s Society said, “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote Whitman, “O me! O life!…of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless…of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here-that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”