Only a dozen or so years and then, sweet, sweet retirement. Having worked for over 35 years, my time of hope and sweet happiness is now firmly planted on the horizon. In but a decade or so, I could be retired. No more getting up at 4:50 AM or making sure I had good battery in the old Corvair so that I was assured I would get to work the following morning. Now, that is a goal certainly worth working for--retirement. And, why not? When you are looking toward something so much better, what does the today have to offer in comparison?
In a sense, living for retirement is living for tomorrow. But, if tomorrow holds all the joy, what is the secret to being happy today? Is it simply the fact that we have our hope in tomorrow and that is our joy?
If that is true, then I know that I have witnessed over the years at least one if not several anomalies to the principle; my Grandpa Leo, for example. He always seemed happy whenever I saw him. Even when he was sick and close to death I never detected a tone of bitterness or regret in his words. Was this because he had finally attained retirement after working so hard through a depression and a war that now he finally had a chance to enjoy life? I really don’t think so. The one thing about my grandfather that really impressed me as a kid was the way he was always hard at work doing something. Whether it was climbing the old oak tree in his front yard at the age of 80 to trim a broken branch or just planting petunias in one of his beloved flower beds, Grandpa Leo never stopped working. In fact, even though he was retired, you would hardly have noticed. His move from the factory floor to a retirement cottage on a lake at age 65 was seamless.
I believe that his secret for being happy was not that he was retired and didn’t need to get up early and work any more. He still got up early and he never gave up working. The secret to being happy for him was not simply looking forward to fishing every day as the sun came up over the lake, although that was something he treasured. Rather, my grandfather had discovered from early on, from in the depths of the Great Depression, that the secret of enjoying life, having joy every day, was to give each ...
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