You Can’t Be Serious - ‘The good life…’
You Can’t Be Serious – ‘The good life…’

You Can’t Be Serious – Rank retirement is Ridiculous…

Some of you will not like this week’s offering. (Ah … Lads, please: such disparaging comments are upsetting…)

This morning, as Mrs Youcantbeserious was blowing my porridge to have it at just right for me, I was listening to Ryan Tubridy on my electric wireless. Ryan mentioned a news item, which you are about to get the benefit of. The story was to do with the ever-increasing number of Japanese people who are living to be over a hundred.

In Ireland, those who reach the ton up club, get a congratulatory letter from the president and I think it is a cheque for €2,500. In Japan the perk for being still on the perch at a hundred is to be presented with a silver cup by the prime minister. Sounds like a wonderful idea – and it is. The downside is that it would take a silver mine to fashion cups for all the Japanese who are now living more than a century.

In 1963 there were 153 Japanese people over 100. In 2016 there were 65,000! This year alone, there will be well over 30,000 added to that once very exclusive club. Now, all of the above would account for an awful lot of silver – if something wasn’t done about it. And there was …

The size of the cup was reduced in 2009 and that made a significant saving to the Japanese exchequer. But as more and more Japs continued with their refusal to die, the solid silver tankard has now been replaced by a silver-plated reward. Personally, I still think it is worth the effort of winning!

Before putting pen to paper here, I did a one man, fifteen minute research to try and establish why those born in ‘The land of the Rising Sun’, can realistically aspire to winning a cup for just being there. There are two big reasons for their longevity. One is diet – and I am absolutely convinced that the second reason is what keeps people alive longer. We’ll deal with that one in more detail further down.

Japanese folks eat a lot of fish and vegetables. I would only get a four out of ten here; but I promise to pull marks back in the second test. Just occurs to me … when did you last see an obese Jap?

Now … what you have been waiting for: The secret formula that enables such a high percentage of Japanese to live past their hundredth birthday. The reason is that those in the work-force, from top to bottom, seek late-retirement as much as western society sets early retirement as its objective. I don’t think that Japanese people work as hard as we sometimes imagine; but the certainty is that they want to stay longer on the job.

I totally agree with this idea of people who want to continue working being allowed to do so. Retirement age should not mean being told, ‘here’s your farewell party and your clock – now off you go.’ All that expertise being lost, in professions such as key detectives in crime prevention for example. This year, Ireland’s greatest broadcaster, Sean O’Rourke, had to clear his desk at the height of his popularity – just because his boss knew his age.

Retirement should not mean doing nothing. We need a purpose in life and a reason for getting up each day. How many of you have known somebody who worked hard, stayed healthy and counted down the clock to retirement age. But when it did come, it wasn’t like it was supposed to have been and the retiree didn’t live ‘jigtime’ afterwards.

The truth is that, like many of the other pleasures we enjoy along life’s path, retirement can be bad for your health. It may even kill you. Nature discards all life that gives up.

It doesn’t have to be so. We are not talking about the people who have a need for an inactive retirement, but nobody should be forced from a job they are doing well on age grounds.

Many people who retire from one job, go on to do something entirely different. We cannot do stuff at sixty that we could do at thirty, and we can do things at sixty that we didn’t have the head for at thirty. For those of us who cannot do idleness (I did try it VERY briefly), we can follow a passion or pursue activities that give job-satisfaction and enrich our lives.

This is not necessarily about earning money (although that is a satisfying way of keeping score!) but more to do with ‘still being useful.’ In fairness, I do have some friends who successfully filled the retirement void with hobbies and golf.

The opposite to ‘doing nothing’ is ‘doing something’. This column wholeheartedly recommends ‘doing something.’ Stay ‘doing something’ and the day may well come when you will be receiving a letter from a queen, a president, or a prime minister.

I just hope that since there will be so many of us, they don’t push the age out to 110!!

Don’t forget

My birthday this week – and the cake had so many candles that it polluted the atmosphere.