Due to a start-stop run-training routine, I completed the Army Half Marathon yesterday in what was one of my worst timings ever. I also ended up with terrible muscle aches and a recurrence of an acute pain in my left knee, and as a result I was forced to take medical leave to visit a doctor for some medication to relieve me of some pain, and to allow me to stay at home to recover from the run.
I thought that it would be a good chance for rest and catching up with the rest of my life. What I found was that I spent the whole day practically doing nothing (except rest, of course), feeling rather lethargic and lifeless, and actually wishing that I was at work.
I think that staying at home and “just resting” isn’t quite my idea of a life well lived. Aimless, I didn’t know what to do with myself, and started getting a little depressed by this situation — depressed that I felt so aimless, and depressed that I was feeling depressed.
Then suddenly I thought that I might as well take this time to clean up my room and “organise my life”. I started getting excited again, and the mental anguish I had been in just disappeared. I was now a man with a purpose, and it felt really good.
This whole episode reminded me of a number of books I read on retirement. People who retire often do not know what to do with themselves. This lack of purpose leads them to suffer from depression, and make them long to return to work. As a result, what might had been the happiest part of their lives (where they were free to relax and do what they really wanted) turned out to lead to another phase of suffering.
And since I’m working towards an early retirement, that might just mean that my suffering would start earlier (if my subconscious was thinking about this, I think it’d seek to stop me from earning/saving enough to retire early)!