The Detailed 15-Point Guide to Live Long, Healthy
"Paradoxical as it may seem, to believe in youth is to look backward; to look forward we must believe in age" Dorothy L. Sayers could not have written wiser words.
In Hinduism, the third stage of life is the Vanaprastha stage, where the householder slowly renounces his duties and then retires to a hut in the forest, with or without his wife, maintaining minimal contact with his friends and family, a metaphor telling us that as and when we grow old, we need to make way for our children/young people and move on to another, perhaps slower/leisurely phase of life.
This could be terrifying if you are not prepared for it, and perhaps even if you are…or it could be extremely satisfying. It all varies from individual to individual.
“Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth’s surface relatively to other such matter; second, telling other people to do so. The first one is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid.” Bertrand Russell used this quote whenever people complained of being overworked.
If you are one of the vast majority doing the first kind of work, retirement may actually turn out to be quite pleasurable, freed of the yoke that kept you going round and round for 3-4 decades of your life. If you are one of the minority doing the second kind of work, retirement may leave a sudden void in your life that you may struggle to fill. Or it could just be the other way around…there are no set or fixed rules.
If you retire at age 60, and assuming the way our lifespans are increasing each year even in India, chances are you will live till 90. Taking a page out of Oliver Burkeman’s book, Four Thousand Weeks, this means you have 1560 weeks or around 10,920 days of life left (more if you live longer, but for simplicity, let’s stick with 1500 weeks and 10,500 days) and you will need to figure out how to live these well.
So, what are the challenges and issues?