It has been two years since I came back home.
To the glorious world of retirement.
September 7, 2020, was my last day of work.
At the Guardian in London.
That day is also my father’s birthday.
Not by coincidence.
He worked for 65 years.
I only managed 50.
But after the past two years of fun, I can tell you this:
Work is totally overrated.
Of course, you all know that I have hardly been indolent.
I have managed to find four activities that give me a feeling of calm satisfaction.
Let’s call them Labors of Love.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, here is what it involves:
Using your legs.
Without staring at a screen.
Not only is it good exercise.
But it lets the mind wander.
Try it. You might like it!
I have always enjoyed it.
Since my earliest days.
But never more so than now.
Maybe the Boston Athenaeum.
Has something to do with it.
I have always loved it.
From my previous life as a college professor.
But now I realize that being a teacher is not just what I do.
It is who I am.
From my Athenaeum tours, to my chess seminars for young and old, to my immigrant training: It is all just teaching.
My Vietnamese student Tam will soon be taking his Citizenship Test.
So I showed him how to get to Downtown Boston on the subway.
From his nearest station, JFK/UMASS.
To the JFK Federal Building in Government Center.
I also explained who JFK was.
Which is something that every Bostonian should know.
Proper or Improper.
This was the real surprise.
Not only that I was able to do it.
But that it turned out to be so satisfying.
It usually takes me three different angles.
To start to see the shape.
I was working on this middle view recently.
When several women walked up and asked if they could see.
I complied graciously.
I guess women are just more into art.
While I sit there and contemplate Venus, the hours just fly by.
And my mind is at peace.
I call it love.