Am I Lazy or Just Tired?

As I approach the much anticipated date of my retirement, I feel less and less inclined to do much of ANYTHING! I mean, work-wise. I mean, in any kind of professional way—not at work, per se—but in terms of work-related endeavors. For instance, just thinking about all the things that people do to make that next buck, or advance in their career, or start some project or other, makes me utterly tired! Is this normal? Is this what happens to everyone who is staring at retirement in the face? Should I be worried? Or is this my REAL SELF coming out finally? Have I always been just plain lazy all these years, but being the conformist that I am have just put my head down and sallied forth because it was “the thing to do?” Gosh! If that is the case, I’m certainly having to get acquainted with a totally different person from that other one that I thought I knew so well…

Or perhaps I AM really just plain tired. Maybe all these years of toiling and punching the clock have really taken their toll; but should I feel this tired already? Despite having worked nearly 45 years of my life, do I even have THE RIGHT to be tired? What about all those people who dedicate half centuries or more to work, or how about those who NEVER quit, who couldn’t fathom the idea of the “dolce far niente,” (as Italians so well put it)?

We all know that one of the punishments that God bestowed upon Adam & Eve was that of “earning the daily bread with the sweat of thy brow…” so if that’s correct, then work was really supposed to be a punishment. So why do we feel guilty when we try to avoid it? Or maybe we’ve just rationalized the “punishment” (aka, “work”) by making it into something different, by dressing it with attributes that make it into something that should be pleasing, uplifting, fulfilling, etc., so that we can accept it and thrive on it, so that we’re not miserable 90% of our lives…?

Well, there it is. Lazy? Perhaps. Tired? Sure. Happy? Definitely!

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4 thoughts on “Am I Lazy or Just Tired?

  1. I’m reading a really good book called “Dare to Live to 100”. It focuses on not just the biophysical requirements to live that long, which are easily enough achieved nowadays, but also the psychological and sociological aspects of one’s life that contribute to living that long, or longer. It was published in 1996 (purchased in a thrift store in the Florida Keys) and outlines 100 steps in each of the three categories mentioned above.

    One of the things it focuses on is exactly the question you pose: finding occupational meaning after “retirement”. It makes the point that the modern job model where you go to school until your mid 20s then work until retirement in the 60s was created in early 20th century Germany, when people didn’t live much past 65. Now that people are living way beyond that the author argues this model is outdated. As such he encourages people to find meaning in their lives after retirement, to stay active and above all, engaged, both with their families, their passions, and so on.

    So find something you’re really curious about, and achieve some engagement! The book, in case you’re curious, can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Dare-Be-100-Steps-Healthy/dp/0684800217

    • Sounds good. I’ve always secretly wished I didn’t have to work, however. The two times I tried it (once right after Alicia was born, and when I went back to school in 2002), I was quite happy and contented. Both times lasted approximately 2 years, so I can’t say it was just the novelty of it that attracted me. I’ve never allowed work to define me, like it so often happens with people. Have you ever noticed people describing themselves in terms of what “they do” instead of what “they are?” I find that very interesting, and it tells me a lot about what people consider most important about themselves. Which is why oftentimes they are so devastated when they lose a job, either through layoff, firing, retirement, or even health reasons; it’s almost as if with the job half (or a great portion) of themselves dies!
      Personally, I have NO PROBLEM getting out of the rat race, staying home and pursuing other interests. Be that as it may, one is still conditioned by societal expectations, so that’s why I ask myself the question: “why do I feel glad to be retiring: is it laziness or just plain tiredness?” As if any other reason were unthinkable. The fact that I even ponder this probably has to do with the notion that has been hammered into our psyches all our lives that unless we work hard–even at meaningless or lousy jobs–for anything that we get, we don’t deserve it. But on the other hand one could argue that if God gave us everything that we needed to exist–notwithstanding the fact that humanity has managed to screw the system royally–such as the air that we breathe, the sun that warms us, the water that falls from the sky or that laps at our feet, the cave that would shelter us, the remedies that would cure us, etc., wouldn’t it be OK then to feel good about just “being?”
      Since I don’t picture myself sitting around the house watching TV all day long once I stop having to punch the clock at work, perhaps a better definition of WORK is in order. Maybe an activity becomes plain “work” when it stops being fulfilling or meaningful, becoming merely a vehicle for ensuring one’s sustenance; anything else would be… what… “un-work?”
      At any rate, I’ve decided to stop feeling guilty about being happy to become “unemployed,” and focus on all the meaningful and fulfilling things I’ll get to do once free from the shackles of the 8-to-5! (Phew! That was long-winded!) 🙂

  2. Your new job now is to trace the ancestry/lineage/genealogy. There! Happy now? This is your new job and you will be held accountable, therefore no time for tireds!

    • Yes, that sounds like a great idea. I’ve always been interested in tracing our lineage anyway, but never had the time to do it properly. Who know, maybe I’ll discover that we descend from Galileo, or St. Augustine, or maybe even Peter the Great, Tsar of all the Russias!

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