The meaning of life is…a project

Personal productivity No Comments

Did you see this BBC report of a study claiming retirement can be bad for your health?

I am struck how many of my ancestors never made it to 60, after years of working in hazardous environments like coal mines, factories or agriculture (or battle fields). Now there is a new problem of finding meaning in later life it seems. But, if older people do paid work for longer then some ask “what about having enough jobs for younger people”?

Talking yesterday at a family event I was struck how far those there who were in their 70s

1) Loved not working – and wouldn’t want to go back to it!

2) But they had found many other things to keep them active (from making furniture, improving their golf handicap, learning Italian, going for longs walks, helping younger and older relatives etc). Many of these were seen as projects. By the way, I notice that those who are independently wealthy at a younger age tend to keep working – with many projects on the go (from new business start ups, learning to paint, writing a book, funding a restaurant etc.)

Much of this ‘project’ approach involves happiness ingredients (helping others, paid or unpaid, counting your blessings etc.) – as outlined in this previous blog

One colleague reflecting on the BBC article and the conversations about it notes that a fashionable question at the moment is ‘what makes us human?’ Maybe a good answer might be “Projects” (paid or unpaid, it probably doesn’t matter).

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