Mind Your Business

Bob James

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Science and medicine can help us live longer, but not necessarily better.

To live well you must mind your business.

The original penny-pincher Ben Franklin understood the importance of minding your business. When he designed the back of the US' first penny, he included that motto and an ovaloid sundial—a sharp reminder that "time flies." (Coin collectors call Franklin's penny the Fugio, Latin for "to flee.")

Time indeed flies, Franklin wished us to know, and you'll never live well unless you mind—that is, take care of—your business.

But what is your business, when the whole world conspires to call you "retired," the filthiest word in our language?

Related: Living Large

The answers to that question are many and varied. Some retired people find second-act professions.

They reinvent themselves full bore, emerging butterfly-like as entrepreneurs, investors, philanthropists, consultants, writers, publishers, artists, filmmakers, musicians, tutors, teachers, hoteliers, tour operators, historians, farmers, florists, sailors, carpenters, clerics, and chefs.

Others become daycare providers, gardeners, world travelers, or pilgrims; join nonprofit boards; start a "mastermind" networking group; or enroll in the Peace Corps.

Some run for office; some are consumed by a sport or hobby; and some quickly "boomerang," returning to their former jobs.

But many retired people don't mind their business.

They putter all day, watch TV, surf the web, yak on the phone, read the paper, and take long naps.

How sad! The world's your oyster.

Are you minding your business?

Benjamin Hotel
Benjamin Hotel


Bob James

Bob James is a second-act still-life painter and obsessive blogger. His oil paintings can be found on his website.

While first to admit all his opinions are merely his own, Bob agrees with Oscar Wilde, who said, “In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane.”

He currently resides in Delaware.