Be True To Yourself
by Irwin Lengel
I am impressed by those people who have taken the time early in their lives to find a hobby. Many of us are so set on making a living and seeing to it that we have a roof over our head, food and clothing for both ourselves and our family that we do not take the time to address our own needs.
Whenever a discussion about time and what we do with it during our retirement years is raised, several thoughts come to mind. For instance, I am reminded of the comment or statement: “To Thine Own Self Be True.”
More recently there is the saying made by the late Steve Jobs, who said: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
In thinking about this I started doing some research and discovered that some thirty-five years ago, in a 1982 lecture (subsequently published as an essay called “Technologies of the Self,”) a French philosopher, Michel Foucault, argued that looking after oneself, rather than being a form of navel-gazing or narcissism, is a kind of “vigilance” that dates back to antiquity. For Socrates, Plato, and their ilk, Foucault writes, “taking care of yourself eventually became absorbed into knowing yourself.” As the thinking went, only with the proper amount of time set aside for the “active leisure” of reading, studying, and ruminating could a person come to grips with the profound nature of the universe and his own mortality.
With that thought in mind, several questions pop up as to how they relate to our own lives now that we are retired. Questions such as:
On any given day, how much of the time do we feel that we are being ourselves – you know, the real you?
Are we allowing self-imposed barriers to stop us from being ourselves?
Do we just go with the crowd or do we stand up for what we believe in no matter what?
Do we allow other people to influence what it is we do every day?
Do we truly know ourselves?
Interesting questions, aren’t they? I would venture to say that those individuals who know that they are more satisfied with life have higher self-esteem than most of us and well, frankly, are generally happier.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Now is our twilight years and the years we should spend doing that which pleases us. Time for me to get out that bucket list once again. Hmmm, let me see, think I will take a course to keep my brain active and oh yes, there is that second book I am working on.
What are you going to do in your twilight years?