A few weeks ago was an astonishing little news clip: the report on Anthony Mancinelli, in New Windsor, who works five days a week from noon till eight p.m. in a barbershop, standing all day, as he has since the age of eleven.
The reason it was in the news: he is 107. You read that correctly.
To put this is quick perspective: when Mancinelli first cut hair, Warren Harding was president. Yet said the owner: “He never calls in sick. I have young people with knee and back problems, but he just keeps going. He can do more haircuts than a 20-year-old kid. They’re sitting there looking at their phones, texting or whatever, and he’s working.”
In fact, Mancinelli has never been on any medication and does not need eyeglasses. He says he has no aches or complaints. His hands remain steady. He has all his teeth. As the owner added, “he shops for himself, does his own laundry, pays his own bills — it’s crazy. He’s just in the right state of mind.”
Is he just fortunate — very good genes — or doing something right?
Perhaps the answer is both.
We live in a society where people are living longer than ever but in many cases retiring earlier than ever — decades before they pass. Too many are in nursing homes because they didn’t work their bodies enough — are suffering weight-related exercise-deficient ailments. Often, once they reach “retirement age,” it psychs them out. Soon, our society will not be able to sustain it. By 2030 nearly twenty percent of people in the U.S. will be over 65.
Is that really a retirement age?
It’s an individualistic thing — between every person and God. Some may need to retire for health reasons. Some simply can’t keep doing what they were. In some cases, retiring and taking life slower may extend longevity.
In too many other cases, it has the exact opposite effect.
Spiritually, idleness can attract the wrong kind of spirits.
So there is no set rule, although if one can, it’s a good idea, if possible, to “die with one’s boots on,” as the chiché admonishes. In general, work is healthy. Activity is healthy. The world’s most famous surfer, Laird Hamilton, believes the body should be worked to its maximum until it can’t. His best friend and surfing companion is more than eighty years young — riding towering waves in Hawaii.
Too many languish at home, doing little or nothing. That can be out of accordance with God’s mission, for even in later years, one can volunteer, if able, or find part-time work, or serve the church — and if nothing like that pans out — can’t be done — spend those older years praying. What a mission that can be!
Every time there is something on television about a tragedy, or a criminal, or a political crisis, praying instead of simply watching and turning the channel can have a huge effect. Retirement years are a great opportunity to pray for everyone we pass in the course of a day, everyone who comes down the street, all who live in the area. If there is Adoration available, a worthwhile retirement that can be! Or simply calling people with encouragement or sending a letter, card, or e-mail to lift them up.
Something. Ask the Holy Spirit for inspiration.
God is perfect. He has a plan for each of our lives. Every morning, we should pray to fulfill that. When we meet Him face to Face, we may be surprised what the mission was.