What a wonderful discovery! I have been sitting on a bound volume of Michel de Montaigne’s essays for years and never really read them – I should have, he has written me a letter in one.
Its been a little long in the post, mind, as he died a bit before the 17th century began…but as I have just embarked on retirement it has come to light at just the right time.
His essay deals with retirement from the world’s affairs – actually beetling off out of the office or shop and not beetling back in again. He sets out forms of retirement and advice for people to whom it has become either possible or necessary. I’m in the first bracket.
Briefly, in his essay ” On Solitude ” Michel advises us to emulate a Disney film and just let it go. We are advised to pursue household management, study, hunting and many other activities to the utmost limits of pleasure but beware of engaging ourselves further when it begins to be mingled with pain. We can resign the sterile and thorny sciences to those in service of the world, and as we are by and large not useful, we need not take on their pains.
I’m not really certain about not being useful, but you get the drift.
We are encouraged to abandon the pleasure that comes from the approbation of others, and I think this might be the most difficult one to avoid. But he consoles us with saying that if we ourselves are content, it is enough.
I shall clean the house, study studio photography, hunt for more diecast model cars, and write about it all -the trick will be not to try to do it all on one day…