Bob Dylan famously proclaimed to the world that “he not busy being born is busy dying,” thereby dividing life into two segments: the period when we consistently make the most of our life and move forward, after which we merely exist and begin marching towards our grave.
But now that I’m in my sixties, and thus entering the last third of my existence, I’ve been thinking a lot about our human lives and how we choose to portion them out. For a goodly number of Americans (at least those in the middle class or higher), I’d say our lives can be more accurately divided into thirds, which I’ll call Learning/Working/Resting.
From birth to around age thirty, we’re “growing up.” During this time, we actively absorb all that’s around us. We observe the world and how others act. We go to school and are taught facts and history, and learn (hopefully) how to think—how to process and analyze the information we acquire.
We may become an apprentice of some sort during this first third of our existence, acquiring a skill by actively engaging in a vocation and learning from others who have more experience than we.
Then, during the middle period of our life, from around thirty to our sixties, we work. We earn money, make a home, raise a family, engage in art or industry, or construct buildings.
And then, finally, we rest. Ahhhhh…. For some, that means golfing and fishing on weekdays, rather than just Saturday and Sunday. For others, buying an RV and setting off to see America. Or perhaps we spend our days reading novels or streaming Netflix. Or hanging out with our grandkids, dogs, and cats. Or going to the beach.
My life was all set to follow this pattern. I studied hard and went to law school (learning), after which I got a job as research attorney at a civil law firm (working). And then I retired, at which point it would have made sense to simply “have fun” (i.e., rest).
But I couldn’t. I realized I needed something more. So I tried my hand at penning a mystery novel.
And lo and behold, it got picked up by a publisher who wanted more of them. So here I am, having just finished writing my fifth Sally Solari mystery, and I can tell you the past years have not been full of “rest.”
But I wouldn’t change it for the world. Rest can wait.
Readers: What about you? Has your life followed this pattern? Do you envision resting in your retirement, or are you driven to keep going, even in your old age?