When I came across the quote above I knew nothing of Alan W. Watts. But, as usual I got on Wiki to learn more. This guy was quite a character in life. It just seemed that once he was doing something for any extended period of time he got bored with it an moved on to something else. It seems he re-invented himself a dozen times in his 58 years of life.
Here is a quote from one of the reviewers of his autobiography In My Own Way on Amazon.
Early on, he set out to be an independent intellectual, constantly learning and living in his “own way.” He succeeded, in spite of the odds, on the terms that he set out for himself. This was deeply inspiring to me, and it turned out that despite the surface differences of interest, Alan Watts had a lot to say about the choices one makes in life and how to go about living.
I like to think of myself, rightly or not that I am also an independent intellectual who likes to live life on my own terms. But my life is nothing like his. I spent thirty years in the corporate world as an engineer. I just didn’t have the courage to admit that I probably should have chosen another path. By the time I realized that fact I deemed it too late to do anything about it. I was happy to just serve out my time until I could draw a full pension (yeah I actually get a monthly check from my previous employer). It was not until I walked away from that life that I discovered my true self.
The term retirement is to me an archaic word that doesn’t really apply to the third trimester of life. This period is more about opportunities than retiring from life. As I just said I like to think of myself living my “own way” but I was a late-bloomer in that regard. I have a lot of catching up to do. 🙂 I have been in this mode for over fifteen years now and having a ball!
Living your “own way” meaning no longer just going with the flow. It means taking the time to form your own opinions and then acting on them. No more just sitting back and whining. It often means going against the grain of other people’s norms. Living blue in a very red State I feel I am often going against the grain:
- Where so much of our world, and especially our country, is living in fear I am stubbornly try to do the opposite. I will simply not give these terrorists the satisfaction of being afraid.
- I see love where others, including my previous self, often see fear and sometimes even hate.
- I see the words of Jesus as an action item list for my life and not just something that I hear in a pew on Sunday morning and then forget for the rest of the week.
Living your “own way” is not easy sometimes but it sure does give you more satisfaction…
I have an Alan Watts book now on my reading list. It will be interesting to learn more about him and probably myself in the process.