March 23, 2016

"And then when you get out of it you realize, oh, well, that... was just silliness."

"And when that occurred to me, I felt so much better and I realized, geez, I don’t think I care that much about television anymore."

Said David Letterman, who's been doing some introspection and come to see that it just wasn't true that the show was so important.

He looks completely different now too, with shiny baldness balancing his beard.

I could retire. What would I realize? The danger is you'd realize you preferred working.
"I thought I would have some trouble, some emotional trouble, or some feeling of displacement, but I realized, hey, that’s not my problem anymore. And I have felt much better. It’s something for younger men and women to take on."
If you knew that's what you were going to realize, you'd go ahead and retire. But it you end up realizing you'd prefer working, it's too late to go back. And yet it's a delusion to think you're maintaining your options by continuing to work, because every day that passes is a day gone forever, not saved for future use. You either worked or did not work on that day.

16 comments:

tim maguire said...

Letterman was much better when he was just silliness. It was when he got earnest that he started to suck. As for the risk of retiring; presumably, if you are retired while still healthy, it's in part because you no longer have to sing for your supper. In which case, there are a million non-profits that will let you pursue whatever labor you like if you find that the life of leisure is actually not for you.

Bay Area Guy said...

It wasn't just silliness, though. Late Night with DL was an institution, particularly for college kids 30 years ago, when you could stay up to 12:30 to watch it on mini-black and white tvs in your Dorm room.

Sure, now, at age 68, with $400 million in the bank, and the free time to do nothing, he can dismiss it as silliness. But, it still was (a) his life's work and (b) brought us much apolitical G-rated humor over the years (although he did drift into leftwing politics later on).

In fact, I would say, we need a few more Lettermans, and many less Jon Stewarts.

traditionalguy said...

He is right. His show was a display of silliness; very aggressively pursued silliness.

But silliness has diminishing returns.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

I thought we didn't like the 1%. I thought we were supposed to frown on rich people telling us about how great their lives are, giving us their rich-people insights, airing their rich-people complaints. Is that not a thing anymore?
I have so much trouble keeping up.

Gusty Winds said...

The latest photos of Letterman on the Daily Mail make him look like he's hidden in the woods somewhere authoring his manifesto.

Smilin' Jack said...

And yet it's a delusion to think you're maintaining your options by continuing to work, because every day that passes is a day gone forever, not saved for future use. You either worked or did not work on that day.

Working today maintains your option to work or not work tomorrow.

But I've always thought it's sad how many people feel lost and useless after they retire, like they needed a boss telling them what to do to give meaning to their lives.

James Longfellow said...

"If you knew that's what you were going to realize, you'd go ahead and retire. But it you end up realizing you'd prefer working, it's too late to go back. And yet it's a delusion to think you're maintaining your options by continuing to work, because every day that passes is a day gone forever, not saved for future use"

Psychologists have a term for this phenomenon--it's called path dependence.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Path_dependence

Once can think of path dependence as an accumulation of negatives. The more we do something, the less likely we are to do something else.

JimT said...

Why can't you go back? I "retired" at the end of 2013, when I was laid off because of the success of the fracking industry for which I was designing down-hole tools. A few months later my wife and I went on an 18-month mission for our church. When we got back, life was boring with nothing useful to do. I have a job interview next Thursday.

I will be 83 in May.

SGT Ted said...

He's right it was never really important. I didn't watch any episodes and don't think I missed much.

Ann Althouse said...

"Why can't you go back?"

I guess there are some jobs you can take back, but normally when you retire, the door is shut. You could go on to some new work.

If I retired from my lawprof job, I would have plenty to do. I'd still read and write everyday. If I ended the blog too... well... why would I do that? I'd probably just cut back. But if I ended the blog, it would probably be to do some more extended writing project, something that required me to direct my attention in a different way.

Linda said...

I retired at the end of last November and love it. Although I certainly did identify myself by my career - I am enjoying the whole process of rewiring. Having time, having all of the time to do what I want is actually quite exhilarating. Doesn't really matter what I do. I am 60 and feel great and plan to enjoy each and every moment.

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jack Wayne said...

Why wouldn't anyone want to retire after 30-50 years of the same job? Fear of the unknown? "Retirement" allows you to take a different path and recharge your interests. For me, 35 years as a programmer was plenty. I retired and found several things to do that are much more fun.

Freeman Hunt said...

My father-in-law retired once after building up a business over many years. Retirement didn't suit him, so he started another business.

Kansas City said...

Interesting post. Especially to a guy 65 years old and working full time, with no real plan to retire.

Smiling Jack is right though, and Ann was wrong and somewhat superficial in concluding is delusional [!} to think you are preserving your options by working each day. Of course you are preserving your options. You exercise your options with respect to that day and preserve the options for all your remaining days.

William said...

If there's one thing I thank God for, it's my lack utter lack of character and ambition. I retired the first chance I got which was when I was in my mid fifties. I got to play a lot of tennis when I first retired. A cruel fate has taken that ability away from me, but it was fun while it lasted. I'm into competitive napping now. I wasn't much at tennis, but I'm quite good at napping. At long last a vice that I can excell at--sloth...........I think the wish to retire is facilitated by having a job that sucks. If you're the host of a late night tv show and have first dibs on the interns and visiting starlets, then the decision is more difficult. Being a Supreme Court Justice is also one of those jobs that they have to cart you out from on a stretcher.