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?

Comments for Be True To Yourself

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by: Pat Newton, Delaware


Your reflective thoughts are always so on target.
They make me stop and think about my own life.
I am so glad you share with us thru Wendy's Retirement Online Community.

by: Sandy

Oh, Irwin - whenever you write something, I always think, "gosh, I wish Irwin was a lifelong friend of mine". But at least you are a "retirement online connection". You have such a wonderful outlook on life and such a reflective nature that always makes me think deeply. Thank you for that gift. Hope you know that you are special!

Thank You to the Philosopher
by: Anonymous

Many of the philosophies you cited brought back my college years and philosophy classes that I took as an elective. Knowing now what I did not know then makes me know I can "Be True to Myself".

Thank You!

by: Loyce!

The IDEAL is to try to be authentic through our life but we sacrifice authenticity and then try to find ourselves as we flounder about without a momentum/agenda but life is a battle and we can choose to fight or not.

Be True, and forsake not
by: Ricardo

Irwin, you are spot on with the quote in your posting suggesting...."To Thine own self be true." I have tried to live this philosophy all my life as well as pass it on to my offspring. IF we cannot find peace within, there is NO way that we can pass that concept on, and often times we live a frustrated tormented life. It seems simple enough,but often we spend our lives trying to please others and making others happy and content, while we squander our time on earth. Before one knows, they have reached the final chapters in their lives with many voids that have gone unfulfilled.....trying to please others or trying to live up to other peoples standards......a credo that we should all live by,"To Thine own self be true."

Try a new hobby/ sport TODAY!
by: Love to Dive/ Canada

Pick something that you enjoy and go all your full capacity! You are never too old for anything!

To prepare for a self-drive family trip to Australia many years ago, I learnt to dive here (Canada) when I was already 44 years old. It was just pure magic to dive in the Great Barrier Reef!

Then many years of no diving and busy working and raising kids until I was laid off a few years ago. Working at odd jobs on and off, I slowly started diving again and I've become totally addicted! It also forces me to exercise, so I could be in decent shape. I also search everywhere for cheap flights/ hotels and bargain dive deals. It's fun!

Now that I'll be 61 soon, I've just come back from the Red Sea (perfectly safe for even a small, older female solo traveler like me here, lugging my gears) and I'm leaving for Maldives in a few days! I intend to dive until I could not anymore. Then I'll just snorkel! There is a whole new world to discover under the sea! I love every second of it! I have made many diver friends from all over the world too! BTW, I’m not that good a diver at all and I have nothing to prove---I just love the ocean and all the wondrous creatures living in it!

It does not have to be scuba diving or any water-related sport, just try some new sport/ hobbies and go with the one you enjoy doing! It will keep you young at heart and you will want to be in good shape (I’m just way too busy to get sick!) to continue to PLAY, PLAY PLAY! YOLO!

Be True to Yourself
by: Sherry/ NC

That "Be True to Yourself" means for me to go visit my grandsons tonight, Sat. Nov. 4th, and take them outside after dark and view the BIG Harvest Moon!! The weather here in NC is beautiful, 78 degrees!

Do something fun!

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