- didn’t only want to figure out what I should do after I left my job; I wanted to know who I would be.
work by Marcus Tullius Cicero, the famed Roman orator and statesman … “Cato Maior de Senectute.” (in English has the catchier title, “How to Grow Old.” … http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Cicero/Cato_Maior_de_Senectute/text*.html)
- wrote the advice in 44 B.C. while in his early 60s
- didn’t recommend ways to stay busy or “give back” to society
he saw intrinsic value in aging…
- “How wonderful it is for the soul when—after so many struggles with lust, ambition, strife, quarreling and other passions—these battles are at last ended and it can return . . . to live within itself,”
Cicero composed it in the form of a fictional lecture from Cato the Elder to fellow Roman statesmen Scipio Africanus and Gaius Laelius Sapiens
- “sought to demonstrate that the later years could be embraced as an opportunity for growth and completeness at the end of a life well lived,”
Cicero’s work confronts the fear many of us have about retirement. Work keeps us busy, defines our value in society and often gives us a social life.
- What happens when that goes away?
Cicero’s view: loss of ambition and competitive drive should not be mourned. It is a gift
Retirees will find their judgment is no longer clouded by passion and desire
- “From it come secret plotting with enemies, betrayals of one’s country, and the overthrow of governments,”
French philosopher Michel de Montaigne, a fan of Cicero’s, viewed retirement as an opportunity to pursue a more solitary life in which a person’s worth is not measured by paychecks, awards or promotions…writing in his late 16th-century essay “On Solitude.” (https://www.theculturium.com/michel-de-montaigne-on-solitude/)
- “We have lived quite enough for others: let us live this tail-end of life for ourselves,”
- “Withdraw into yourself, but first prepare yourself to welcome yourself there.”
John Adams read Cicero’s “de Senectute” throughout his life
- most retirement advice today is that we need to find ways to fill time
- Adams viewed that idle time and solitude are to be sought, not feared