QUESTION: What do I do after work? ANSWER: Join the Aristocracy. If the soul has food for study and learning, nothing is more delightful than an old age of leisure.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
In the western world we are so much defined by what we do, what we earn, where we’ve come from. The first question usually asked is: “What do you do?” It’s an easy but lazy categorisation to make from thereon in, defining the person by the job; it is not who they are but what they do that interests us so much.
Unfortunately the same can apply when we categorise ourselves. If our self-worth is too much tied up with what we do, then when the what we do comes to an end, for whatever reason, so too can our self-worth.
It’s a dodgy business!
Retirement, redundancy, down-sizing, up-skilling, ill-health, family pressures, etc etc etc. A veritable minefield of threats to a self-worth attached too strongly to occupation.
That’s why it’s so important to begin to detach from this. It’s not just a question of self preservation, it’s an invitation to treat ourselves. There is life after work and we are so much more than what we do. As Ernie J Zelinski suggests in his wonderful book How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free we can become:
New Age Aristocrats, Connoisseurs of Life, Chartered Members of the Happy, Wild and Free, Presidents of the Too Prosperous to Work Society.
How much better than bearing those other labels put out to pasture, over the hill and past their sell-by date.
I know which I prefer.
How do you feel about the idea of becoming a ‘New Age Aristocrat’? How much is your self-worth tied up with what you do? What can you share that might be of help to others? Please leave your comments!