Want to live longer?

I am in Japan this week, meeting creative people.  I interacted with a really interesting person by chance.

Across the alley from the apartment where I am staying, I was awoken early in the morning by an old man banging on a pot with a hammer.

Determining a Japanese person’s age is difficult, but this guy was really old. He might have been born before Japan opened to the outside world in the 1860s.  I’m not sure.

6E046D1D-6D5D-4F5B-AEF1-D0EFA119322EThe old man procures old cookware that has been cast out, and repairs it all.  He beats out the dents and straightens where it is bent.  Then he apparently tries to sell them.  It is all done in a simple workplace  in his family’s garage.

Japan is a rich country by any measure.  No one needs to buy recycled pot and pans.  Affordable cookware is easily accessible.  But the man’s family realizes that meaningful work is key to keeping him alive and vibrant.

As you plan your retirement, have you focused on financial planning?  Hopefully you have also planned ways to make substantive alterations.  If not, retirement could bring rapid decline in health.  Retirement is stressful and can mean an end to meaningful contributions.  A Harvard study indicates that compared to those who keep working, retired individuals are 40 percent more likely to suffer heart attack or stroke.


Four recommendations from the study are (1) forging new social networks, (2) playing, (3) being creative, and (4) continued learning.  My advice: even if you are young, plan now.  Develop a system that will allow you to make a substantive creative contributions now and into old age.

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