Sunday, February 5, 2012


Tetsu and I went to an interesting convalescent care lecture this weekend. We know the man who was speaking and so went to say hello and hear what he had to say.

At one point in the lecture, the speaker had us (about 100 people) imagine that we are at our former elementary school getting ready to run a 60 meter race.

"Run as fast as you can! Put all you have into it! Don't lose sight of your goal! Ready? Get set. Go!"

And we all sat in our seats imagining the race we were taking part in.

"You're almost at the finish line! You're doing great. 20 more meters. Only 10 more! Here comes the finish line tape.... You're about to cross it... Oops. I made a mistake. This is a 100 meter race! Don't let up steam now! You've got 40 more meters to go!"

And most of the people at the lecture "stumbled" or "gave up" and collapsed in their seats.

"Did you manage to go the extra 40 meters? Did you lose your momentum and think 'what the heck!'?

This is what people in society are facing today. 70 years ago the average lifespan was 50 or 60 years of age. We were told to work hard throughout life and if you even managed to MAKE 60 years you were doing good. But now, reaching the centenarian mark isn't unheard of. In 2010 there were nearly 50,000 centenarians in Japan.

So if you are planning to retire at age 60 it is very likely that you've got more time ahead of you... Now what are you going to do with that extra time?"

In the past few months this has been a running conversation between Tetsu and me. I tell him that he needs to start thinking about what he'd like to do after retirement but he always retorts that he won't be able to afford to retire. Tetsu's whole life has been devoted to working long and hard in a company or organization and it is only in the past two years that he has made it a habit to come home before 9:00 at night. He has no hobbies, and doesn't seem to want to expand any of his flitting interests (like wonky carpentry).

"Cooking? Wouldn't you like to take up cooking as a hobby?" (You can see my brain working here... I'll let Tetsu take over the kitchen in our old age.)

"How about photography? Wouldn't that be fun?" (And then I could buy a professional style camera without any guilt feelings.)

"Heaven forbid that you suggest we do golf together and by the way, no one says we have to have a JOINT hobby. I am perfectly happy doing patchwork and blogging until I'm 100 so you can think about something that YOU'D like to do."

So far Tetsu has come up with Visiting Hot Spas.

Anyway food for thought.

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