Those who know me even a little know that I'm not retiring, in either of the most common meanings of the word. In some places, at some times, for some purposes, 65 was the "official" retirement age (and it's not really because of Bismarck, if you have been believing that). I turned 65 today, having made it well past the 60 that my erstwhile employer thought was a good age at which to retire, and I'll hit 70 sooner than I'd prefer, as long as I don't hit something more solid at high speed first. I'm not retiring, though, having neither become shy nor given up on working.
"Retire" (リタイア) as a loan word is used in Japanese, but as is the case with many loan words, its nuance is a bit different than the original's: it's generally used to mean "quit" or "give up", particularly in the sense of abandoning an individual endeavor--such as a sporting event or other competition--before completion. There are different words used for retiring from one's career or position or company.
Some of my readers probably have been thinking that I retired from this blog in that withdrawing from endeavor sense. It has certainly been a long while since the last post. Had I set out to write a journal, that would not have been the case, since I would have been writing on some regular--daily? weekly?--schedule. With no obligation, implied or otherwise, to write regularly, however, numerous personal events, both very sad and very happy, occurred in close enough time juxtaposition that I found myself at a loss to write lest I seem to be either trivializing, or exaggerating, or both. Ignoring what were--to me at least--very important life events in favor of writing about more objective, or at least impersonal, topics didn't seem to be a very responsible alternative strategy, either.
There's something to be said for maintaining a sense of perspective, and sometimes that's easier after a certain amount of time has passed. However, I've recently realized that both terrible and wonderful events, both personal and not, continue to occur, on an unpredictable schedule. Waiting for sufficient time to provide perspective seems more and more to be a strategy more suited to the historian than to me.
I still have no intention of making this a journal, but I have decided that too much "waiting for perspective" may result in my waiting until I run out of time altogether.
So...I'm back, unretiring.
Home Truths column for February
1 week ago