Feeling useful, by Lluís Bassat

In France there is a general strike protesting the extension of the retirement age to 64 years. In New York, the lady who sold me my shirts at Bloomingdale’s, and gave me great advice on different brands, was at least 75. One day, when we knew each other well enough, I asked her how old a person in New York retires. United States and he replied that when you hated the job you did or when you stopped feeling useful. And that she enjoyed what she made of her, she kept her distracted all day, she kept making money and, above all, she felt useful. I loved the answer and I remember it now because I have registered again with Social Security.

I have given up half of my pension, but in exchange, I can continue working on what I like and it has given me so much satisfaction in my life. That does not mean that I am going to open another communication agency, but it does mean that I am going to help whoever wants to do it better. And surely I will feel useful doing it, as I have felt in recent years, creating and producing free campaigns for Cáritas, the Sagrada Família and other institutions that pursue the common good, and giving educational conferences.

Nathan Laine/Bloomberg

We dream of retirement, but it is much more rewarding to continue being useful

There is nothing more gratifying than helping those who need it, and in our country there are so many people over 65 or 66 who could continue helping, without necessarily giving up their pension. Teachers who could lend a hand to those students who find it difficult to follow the level of the course, cooks who could teach their best recipes to young people who are just starting out, carpenters like the one I had in Mataró, who was quite a cabinetmaker and who could teach his trade to some young people without work. The list of professionals who could still be useful after retirement is endless. And from here I encourage you to do so.

I know that one dreams of retirement, but it is much more gratifying to continue being useful, as long as one can and his health allows it. Saturdays and Sundays are more enjoyable and, on the other hand, you don’t have to work forty hours a week. A few are enough for the brain to continue processing correctly and so that when we go to sleep we congratulate ourselves for having been useful one more day.

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