3 thoughts on work…maybe not a topic you want to think about on a Sunday, or any day? Dreams of retirement being far more alluring. Or is retirement all that it’s cracked up to be?
I think not.
Here are my 3 thoughts on work:
- Our bodies need work.
- The data revealing the protective effects of learning and study upon the health of the brain are accumulating rapidly.
- The very nature of work imbues us with a sense of meaning and purpose, without which, happiness is impossible.
Starting from the top, the body’s need for exercise and healthy eating-work- is no longer debated among the professionals or lay public. Research has demonstrated the successful non-medical management and even reversibility of chronic diseases like Diabetes and Alzheimer’s with changes in diet and exercise.
Retirement was never a goal of mine, most likely because of the consequences I saw in my mother and father. In fact, I feared it.
When my career in academic medicine ended, I realized that my definition of work had to change. Perhaps like you, for me, meaningful work had narrowed to that defined by a title, institution and/or paycheck. I needed to learn that any effort done with the right mind set could be meaningful work.
- A very long time ago, I listened to the presentation of a basic science paper which enumerated the physiological changes caused by learning new skills in the brains of rats.
- Roll the clock forward to the 21st century, we now understand the positive effects of brain ‘exercise’ in ourselves. People who challenge themselves routinely are less likely to suffer cognitive decline.
- Just like in the rats, the learning need not be rocket science but rather a decision to cook healthier meals or dust off the skills for caring for a new grandchild.
- An online search for research validating these statements with call up hundreds of links for you to review. Try it!
Most of us will agree that work imbues us with a reason to get up in the morning. We are not wired to do nothing. Our minds, if not disciplined, become our enemy and can quite literally, eat us alive.
- I no longer count the numbers of people who, when they learn that I’m in my 4th career as a writer, say something like, “I’ve always wanted to write a book.” It’s like anything else we decide to do. Then commit to do it well. It takes a willingness to fail.
- But isn’t that the core of a happy life? Deciding to do what we dream?
- Yesterday, Mark Kamish and I submitted the finished audio manuscript for Do You Solemnly Swear? to Audible.com The 2nd of my medical mystery series. As I told Mark in an email, the book was good. This audio is better. And will be released within the next two weeks or sooner.
- That is the fundamental goal: To continue improving this current version of ourselves.