Wednesday, August 08, 2007

How do you spend your days?

That question is put to me at least once a week, whenever I speak to someone who knew me in my ultra busy days before retirement. It tends to be delivered in a blend of envy and disbelief. It always fills me with shame and guilt because I appear to be doing very little! Part of me says that I needed and deserved time to recover from the pressures of work. I didn't want to rush into accepting invitations to join committees and governing bodies until I had got the garden/house/daughter's wedding/filing cabinets/bookshelves etc sorted. Then I wanted to catch up with family and friends and lots of reading. Then, of course, blogging became the time consumer that I'm not ready to admit to in polite company. Before I noticed, a year had passed and now I really am a retired person and not someone who has just finished working.

Some years ago, a friend told me that we reach maturity when we stop looking for purpose in life and seek meaning instead. My days used to be filled with purpose, how much I actually achieved is open to question. I'm not sure if what I am about to do is a search for meaning or yet more purpose but I have decided to go back to studying. It is an awfully long time since I did any serious study and I'm not sure if I can remember how to write an essay but I'm going to try. The two year course starts in October, so I'm going to have to pack lots of sorting things out and catching up with people into the next few weeks.

I've recently been exploring some interesting blogs dedicated to books. (I have put links to a few of them on my side bar and each of those contains links to many more.) I am intrigued by these people who find time to keep a daily blog as well as reading vast numbers of books and living very interesting sounding lives. Perhaps when I'm a really busy person again I'll find I cram lots more into my days, just as I did when I was working.


  1. There's probably been a more harmful pop slogan than "You are what you eat," but I can't think of it off the top of my head.

    Wait: was there a pop slogan for the advice to put infants on their front to sleep to avoid SIDS? You know, before they decided that you should put infants on their backs and that putting them on their fronts actually contributes to SIDS. Or was it the other way 'round?

  2. David, I'm thinking you intended this comment for my post on food?

    I hate that "You are what you eat" slogan, too, and I had terrible arguments with my mother when I followed the Health Visitor's instruction to put infant Andrew face down in his cot. Mother was right, of course, just as she was when she said "all things in moderation" regarding food.

  3. What is the distinction between purpose and meaning? I use the two interchangeably.

  4. Ah, Duck, if we only knew that!


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