Does retirement cause death?

Dear Great Zamboni-

Is the fact that people who retire are more likely to meet their death in the ensuing years influenced by whether or not they find something to do after retirement?  -SK Dance

You know- this is interesting question. What happens after we get done working and we can “rest” or “retire”? My maternal grandmother, Smolenka Slipuvitz, was a famous cheesemaker and Estonian Olympic fencing coach. Cheese was her vocation, fencing was her passion. Her curd straining and sheep- milking allowed precious little time for her fencing, nonetheless the bills had to be paid. When she retired from cheese, she devoted herself to her students of the saber and the foil, yet her age made movement difficult. Nevertheless, this retirement activity kept her alive with passion until the age of 102.

My step-father-mentor, The Baron von Sthunderstucke, died almost immediately after retiring from the military. He tried golf and stamp collecting but nothing caught traction of him.

So the answer to your question is yes- but more than this, we don’t just start aging or dying on the first day of retirement. We are busy dying and aging every day. I am dying now so are you. If the clock is moving, we are dying. Like the old peasants used to say while they drank hickory wine under the Walnut tree, “new day, some old smell.” Right?

Prepare to die!

2 thoughts on “Does retirement cause death?

  1. “Alive with passion” is surely the best, though I do wish I could’ve tasted your dear Grandma Smolenka’s cheese.
    Still, your “pointe” is made: taking up golf and stamp collecting as an afterthought, or antedote, is not likely to work as well as having more time to devote to a life long passion for the saber.

    In The Princess Bride the line was “Prepare to die.” By sword, of course, and with passion.

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