I find it fascinating that so many people try to put a sad face on retirement. Just think of the common terms we use for retirement: "over the hill," "being sent to the glue factory," "hanging up the spikes," "riding into the sunset," "being put on the shelf" (presumably intended for librarians), and "being put out to pasture."
Some of this negativity stems from our strong American work ethic, but much of it originates from fear. People who refuse to retire often tell me, "I’d go stir crazy without a job" and "My job is who I am." Too much freedom is a scary thing for many people. Work fills up the day. Take away work and you’re floating around in space with nothing to do.
It’s true. To fill up the time, you can develop some really addictive habits like scanning the internet, watching television, and talking on the cell phone. I decided that I wanted to fill up my time by writing a book so I got rid of my television, gave my cell phone to my 2-year-old grandson to play with, and disconnected the computer. This last decision was a mistake. It’s difficult to survive in this society without a computer. "Sir, you don’t have an e-mail address? I’m not sure we can issue you an account without one."
As a result I got instantly addicted to the internet. The hours would fly by like minutes whenever I began scanning my favorite sites, mostly celebrity gossip, sports, and weather. Yes, it’s a pathetic human being who has to know what the weather is like in Mumbai, on a daily basis.
I wrote about my addiction in this column last year and got some really good tips. A cataloger friend of mine suggested that I restrict my surfing to librarian blog sites. "These are absolutely deadly," he declared. "They will kill your internet addiction instantly."
He was wrong. I quickly got hooked on the writings of several librarian bloggers. Having spent the last three decades penning monthly columns for three different library publications, I became fascinated with this whole new subculture of librarians writing for librarians. It was far more interesting than the weather in Mumbai.
But last month disaster struck. My computer screen suddenly got wavy, fuzzy, and then went blank. Fortunately I had gotten the three-year warranty. After poking around, a young repairman determined that I had "fried RAM." It would take two weeks to get the replacement part.
During that time, I became a regular at the computer room of my public library. It was very crowded and you had to surrender your computer after only an hour. This is not good for an addict.
When I was finally able to pull myself away from the public workstation at the prodding of a man in a Raiders sweatshirt, I noticed that very few people were in the book stacks. "Why in heaven’s name was I working on a book?" I thought. I should be doing a blog!
You can visit me at Will Unwound.