Nothing new under the sun

by Calvin /Somerset, England

I enjoyed reading Irwin's piece and his very good sense in seeing a new life in retirement. What would your 90-year old self tell you about living life?

I am 71 and still trying to slow down after retirement 5 years ago. After decorating and fixing the house I wait with impatience for something needing to be done.

A few weeks ago I stumbled across a short poem by Christophe Plantin who lived 1514 - 1589 and it showed me that age has been the same challenge forever! It's also out of copyright after four centuries so no worries.
This is it - The world's good fortune.


To have a comfortable house, clean and fair;
A walled garden lined with fragrant espaliers;
Fruit and fine wine, few servants and few children;
The only lover of a faithful wife;

No debts, no love-affairs, lawsuits nor feuds,
No wills to haggle out with relatives,
Simply content, dependent on no magnate,
And by a righteous rule to rule one's life;

To live in frankness, ambition forsworn;
With conscience clear devoted to devotion,
To tame one's passions until they obey,

To keep the spirit free and judgement strong,
Saying one's prayers while looking to one's pear-trees:
A kindly way at home to wait for Death.


Isn't that an ideal way to look at it? I have posted it with his original French words on a poster for the hall.

Comments for Nothing new under the sun

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nothing new under the sun
by: matt i

i treat the conversation about death --kinda like the weather--sunny--cloudy--misty- rainy -snowy--happy to be alive to even contemplate the privilege to begin with.

certainly i don't want die of natural causes--but whatever weather may appear on the unknown date i will leave the world thinking i done everything but finding the rainbow--because i having been living it.

Love your insights
by: Julie Garman

I found your blog via one of those "top retirement blogs" list and I'm so glad I did. I'm a brand new retiree as well as a brand new blogger. I find your insights very helpful. Thank you so much for sharing them!

Waiting For Death?
by: Anonymous

I agree with the horrific comment. Contentment is one thing. Waiting for death is quite another.

What makes one person feel content may not be the same for another, but waiting for death doesn’t sound like the way to find it!

by: Irwin

Now that I have read a few of the comments - Anonymous, I have to agree with you, there should be a better word used than death.

While I myself don't think I'm afraid of dying (we all will face that day sometime), I think most of us agree that it is how we get to that day that scares us most.

Me, I'd like to go peacefully in my sleep.

A Kindly Place to Wait
by: Ruth Kirkpatrick


I'd say it is wisdom of age. Age that recognizes the time, and how not to make it a battle ground of fear. With so much at hand in pandemic, what a beautiful offset. But we do not want the inevitable, just finding ways to enjoy life individually while we wait.

I've copied it for my website to post a comment writing. And thank you.

A kindly way at home to wait for Death

Re: Old age
by: Anonymous

Is it just the word death? You can substitute some euphemism instead - the close, my passing, bringing down the curtain...

No one gets out alive LOL

I am happy about death, just not too pleased about the risk of a fretful departure.

Your comment to my recent post
by: Irwin Lengel

Thank you for your kind comments about one of my recent posts (What would your 90-year old self tell you about living life).

Love the poem by Christophe Plantin which merely goes to show that simplicity (following his words of wisdom regarding "This World's Good Fortune") is probably one of the best ways to live life and in doing so, being happy.

To use your words - it is an ideal way to look at it.

Take care.

Old age
by: Anonymous

The last line "a timely way to wait for death" filled me with utmost horror.

I have a retired husband who says he is "content". He lives, if you can call it that a life, on the sofa in front of the tv. He refuses to do anything, go anywhere, in fact to live.

The deep depression i have is because i have had to witness this it is abhorrent to me. I can no longer be anywhere near him.

A life should always have purpose and use otherwise it is just an existence.

So no i do not agree with the poem at all.

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