We all have an expiration date, and for his fans, friends and family, no doubt Morley Safer's came too soon.
But here's the thing, with how he lived his life, working at CBS' "60 Minutes" up until announcing his retirement one week before his passing at 84, Morley gave us one last great amazing gift--showing us how to live full out, do what you love, no holds barred, right up until your personal end.
Since none of us know when that "personal end" is, the secret to an amazing full rich life is to do whatever it is that floats your boat, revs up your engines, twirls your baton, as much as you can, as often as you can, as best you can--no matter what your age.
Because that's what Morley Safer taught us, with the example of his life. Way past the time when most folks retire, Morley continued to be passionate about his work, which in no small measure was a significant factor in his long, happy (mostly healthy) life.
A study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health found that people's health often declines after retirement, such that retirees were as much as 40% more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke than non-retireds of similar age, most of which occurred during the first year of retirement. How can that be? Isn't retirement supposed to be a nice long R&R? No stress, no strain, surely no reason for a heart attack.
Well, apparently, R&R isn't enough. One of the biggest problems facing retirees--especially in a society like ours that puts so much emphasis on youth--is finding something with meaning and purpose to it after their exit from the work world.
The mistake is to think that you have to be a famous investigative reporter to have a purposeful, meaningful life. Or that the only way to find meaning and purpose is to strap yourself to your desk/work station forever and a day. That's so not the point. What you need to do, regardless of your age, is find those things that feel purposeful and meaningful to you; just you. Not to your Facebook friends, your other friends, the media, your mother, your kids, your SO/bae, your Snapchat buddies, your co-workers; just you.
Then, do those things with as much unfettered enthusiasm, joy and zeal as you possibly can. So whether it's baking a cake for someone dear's birthday, volunteering at the local animal shelter, running your first marathon, growing tomatoes, plugging away at the Great American Novel - or for me, plugging away at ballet--give it all you've got.
Age doesn't matter. The life in you does. And it is living your life, as Morley did, that makes it so much easier to have fun all the way.
It is appreciating the opportunities you do have around you for meaningful moments, be those through your work, your hobbies, your projects, your family, your friends--rather than dwelling on the "Gee I wish I could" or "If only" or "Never happen" brain chatter that tramples on your true desires. The "What" that rings your bells doesn't matter nearly as much as the "How much" it rings them.
So as long as it's "with harm to none" (duh), wherever you are in life--just starting out, somewhere in the middle, or rich with experience--invest yourself wholeheartedly in what is meaningful, purposeful to you, and have a blast until, a la Morley--outta here!