Work vs. Retirement (Cont.)
March 28, 2010
The other night a colleague gave me a ride home from work because the weather was horrible, and I had not ridden my bike in. The next day she asked if I minded answering a personal question. She said that when she had dropped me off at home, Peter was in front of the house. She noticed how warmly we greeted each other (after all these years). She was curious to know why, now that he is eighty, I don't leave my job to spend more time with him since we don't know how much time we will have together.
When I mentioned her comment to Peter that night, he replied "For better or for worse, but not for lunch."
But my colleague's comment stayed with me a day or two, so I decided to press Peter on this subject. I asked him if he wanted me to be with him more. I told him that if he wanted to take a trip around the world, I would quit my job. But he doesn't want to do that. Peter is a man who has a wonderful life of the mind. Teaching and learning is what makes him happy, whereas I am happiest problem-solving with people. So I belong at work, and he belongs with his life of the mind.
But he went on to say, "Well, maybe if I were really sick…"
My reply, although it may seem unseemly was,
"Then I'd really need to go to work…"