Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Is life a long-term project?

Working in IT for the last decade or so, all my work experience so far can be divided into well-defined projects. For every project, there is a mostly enthusiastic start and there is usually a satisfactory end, with lots of craziness thrown in between. I believe everyone in the project has their own version of their goals, no matter how miniscule they are, and trying to achieve those goals plays a big part in self-motivation. At least it does for me. One project ends and I start to think about the next one.

But there will come a time when I will retire - when there will be no more projects that will come my way through work. What then? I have realized that the amount of thought and planning that I put into any work-related project, I have never put into the long-term project that is life. Never have I stopped and asked myself, what will you do with your life when you are done with your final project at work? Granted that I have atleast 25-30 years of a working life ahead of me and it is a little too early to think about post-retirement plans, but these days for some reason, I can't help but think about it.

If your work is the only thing that defines you, all of a sudden after your last day at your job, won't you be lost? I know of friends who say that they will work at their jobs till they can't work anymore and I am happy for them. But personally, I somehow find that a waste of your time. As a child, you were happy playing games and generally not caring much about anything else. But did you do that permanently? At some point of time, you had to act responsible, get a job etc. So why should the phase of sticking to your job be permanent? Should you not move on to the next chapter of your life and do newer things?

Most people retire and do more or less the same things they did before, the only difference being that they have more time to do it. It kinds of makes me think that most people almost strive to be uni-dimensional when they really don't have to. Cliched and a little late it may be, but the world is their oyster. They can practically do anything they want. Just because you have stopped working does not mean you have stopped growing as a person.

As of now I have at least 2 things that are on my list of things to try out. I can't tell you exactly what it is because I myself am not very clear about it, but one of those things does involve travelling and teaching for extended periods of time, while the second idea involves cricket. Atleast these are my post-retirement plans when I am 35. We will see what happens when I am 60+. Some friends I have confided my plans to have asked me why I don't do those things now and why I have to wait till I retire. My answer is I have responsibilities now which I won't have when I am 60+. I am really looking forward to getting older! Are you?