Reflections on Retirement and Employment
To continue this musical analogy I'd like to quote the words of several conductors because what they say about music and the process of conducting has many parallels with the writing of this autobiography and of poetry. Herbert Blomstedt, speaking of composers, says, "everyone has a different pace and develops in different ways." In some ways this seems as obvious for conductors as it does for autobiographers but, however obvious it may be, it is a crucial point. I was really not ready to write about my life in any meaningful way until I was nearly sixty. Blomstedt also said that some artists need to work out a way of having a break or they will work themselves into the grave. At fifty-five I gave up my paid employment as a teacher out of emotional exhaustion or, as I felt at the time, I would have worked myself into my own grave. I am also imbued with a forward-looking spirit, a spirit which gives vision and energy to my often flagging spirit.
Only after determining how I would fill in my own day, rather than having it filled in by the demands of job, of community, of family and the various human associations that had come to fill my life, was I able to continue writing with any real fertility. In the first four years of retirement I was able to develop my vision of how I wanted to work, what I wanted to say, in what way I was going to be able to contribute to the growth and consolidation of the Baha'i community now that the major pattern of the last forty years had been broken or ended by the inevitabilities of the retirement process.
In my dress, my food, my homes, my furnishings, my gardens, my transport, my employments and enjoyments, I was clearly one of those favourites of fortune among the global billions who united every refinement of convenience and of comfort, if not elegance and splendour. So many of these emoluments soothed my pride or gratified my sensuality, insensibly acquired, largely unappreciative of their comforts due to familiarity and their continuous presence like the very air I breathed. One could not give the name of luxury to these refinements of mine. Nor could I be severely arraigned by the moralists of the age for possessing these basics. But I often thought that it would be more conducive to the virtue, as well as the happiness of mankind, if all possessed the necessities and none of the superfluities of life. And one day, it was my view, that would be the case.-Ron Price, Tasmania