Monday, July 16, 2012

Increasing that Percentage

Andrew Rickard in his eponymous blog tells the story of a Roman official called Similis who’d served Emperor Hadrian (76-138) (link). Similis retired at 69 and then, on his tombstone, announced that he had been in the world many years but had only lived seven. Having died at 76, those seven in retirement amount to 9.2 percent. The actual percentage was no doubt higher. Similis should probably have put his childhood years into the “lived” category too—but never mind. This post produced quite similar reactions in me. I left my last job in a large institution and set up on my own; with that my life changed. It was then 53. Earning your living independently is not quite the same as “leaving the world,” but life’s quality changes. And then, after retirement, it changes once more. Whether such changes are for the better or worse all depends on the person’s makeup. Reading Rickard’s post, thoughts of Lyndon Johnson surfaced—a man who suffered in retirement and coped by smoking and drinking—despite a heart condition. And he evidently still tried to stay involved. He was found dead in bed, after a massive heart attack, with a telephone receiver in his hand. No telephone anywhere near my bed.


  1. You clearly suffer from headline fatigue, my dear. I suggest that you change the way you start reading the morning papers. Begin by diving into ads instead of headlines. There you will find more uplifting or cheering words and phrases.
    Herewith some examples from today's WSJ, Sect.1:

    Collaborating, Easy, Concerned, World's Finest, Instantly, Best (4 times), Solutions, Cost Effective, Free (3 times) Support, Dedicated (3 times), Dependable, Outperforming, Sovereignty, Celebrate, Understanding, Committed, Opportunity, Grow (3 times) Know-How, Leading, Saving, Extraordinary, Evolving, Most Important, Relaxing, Quiet Comfort, and even - Loving.

    1. This comment belongs to the post below this one, but I don't know how to move it...