Waking Hours.

“The eternal problem of the human being is how to structure his waking hours. In this existential sense, the function of all social living is to lend mutual assistance to this project.”

~ Eric Berne.

A classmate of mine who was in his own business till age finally caught up with him handed over the business to his son and retired some six months ago. He however kept going to the office till his son finally told him to either stop or take the management back from him. He finally stopped going to work and came to find out from me how I manage to pass my time in retirement.

Yakob has been part of my family’s life since December 1990 when he came in as our gardener and handy man.   Yakob was working as a peon in an establishment near our home and his employment with us was for before office hours.

Yakob hit the age of sixty by the end of February this year and had to retire from his position from the establishment where he was working.  Since then, he has visibly deteriorated from a cheerful and happy go lucky fellow to a listless and cheerless individual.  No amount of my trying to cheer him up helps.

Both these cases are typical of many retired people who do not know what to do with themselves during their waking hours.

To the former, I explained how I occupy myself with so many things that I find little time to do other non routine things. He just could not understand how I could read so much, solve crossword puzzles, blog, WhatsApp and so on as he never had the time to develop such or other interests during his working days. He left as disheartened as he was when he came in.

To the latter, I am trying to find some re-employment through other friends and hope to find something soon.

Retirement can be brutal if one had not developed some interests other than career related ones while still working.

16 thoughts on “Waking Hours.”

  1. My observation has been that women are better at this than men. Many men of my acquaintance, unless they have other interests, are useless at retiring and can get into a lot of trouble in their senior years. I could tell you stories.


  2. I don’t understand those men who say they have nothing to do after retiring because they’ve developed no other interests. Do they have a total lack of imagination and ingenuity? I have plenty to do all day – blogging, Facebook, reading, listening to music, a monthly book group, discussing the news, gardening. Like you, I sometimes don’t have time for non-routine things like household repairs and have to procrastinate for a day or two.
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  3. Hi Rummy,

    You are so right: if one hasn’t developed any other interests besides work, retirement will be very hard. And then we have those cases where people do have other interests but prefer to work till they die anyway (Shimon Peres was one of those).
    I personally do not intend to retire, but again my professional path and my situation allows for it, but many people have no choice but to retire (i.e. when they work for an employer or for the State who are interested in replacing the “old” with the “new”, which many times is a mistake). My father never retired and he died without knowing what retirement was, my mum doesn’t intend to retire either. Many in my family have retired and their mind and intellect have deteriorated, quite frankly.

    I don’t think humans were designed to retire.

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  4. I remember a story about a group of men who retired and after they had tidied up loose ends to at home, decided to buy an old house, renovate it…and then sell it on. Then buy another…they got out of their respective homes and were “working but in a leisurely way for themselves”

    But I can understand that problem…and know many retirees who have that problem

  5. Ideally one would develop other interests throughout life in addition to work. Still I would think a person would have curiosity and would tap into that for ideas when retired if they didn’t have any activities. We have coffee shops here that people alone, or couples, go to, where they can talk with others which can lead to more activities.

    1. I see quite a few of them in groups out walking in the mornings or evenings. In the local park you can even see them sitting in groups having fun discussing politics or other matters. Quite what they do during the rest of the time beats me!

  6. perhaps it is a matter of creativity. and that may be an innate thing in each individual. non creative types (and I don’t mean by creative … you have to be an artist or writer or such) I would offer it as simply another way of looking at life.
    it’s seeing beauty in things. less from a ‘scientific’ approach to just an enjoyment approach. people who have worked for 40 years with a certain schedule are lost without it probably. it’s not uncommon for them to die a year or two after they retire! sad to say the least!
    little children prove it out too that it’s something you’re born with. some can create fun with whatever is around.
    others stand and whine… “there’s nothing to do!” … “what can I do?” maybe they grow up to be those who cannot retire!

  7. Retirement can be brutal if one had not developed some interests other than career related ones while still working.
    To me anyone who only has interests in work – unless that work has to do with the arts – has trouble with life andi s not likely to be even an associate of mine, let alone a friend with the only exception being folks in law enforcement. I have noticed a high percentage of retired law enforcement officers i know to be that way and they tens to make goo story tellers. Some even make good authors. s

  8. Hi,
    I am very much eager to retire. After retirement I want to do following things –
    Continue my hobbies – Gym, Yoga and swimming, reading etc. and these things have no barriers of age.
    I want to work with still suffering alcoholics; work for orphanage which is already fixed; to go to picnic along with the family members;
    After retirement I will be free and happy.

    1. Hi Shankar. Nice to see you commenting on one of my posts. Thank you.

      I know your keenness to retire and the reasons for it. Just be patient. You are more or less on a pension already anyway!

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