I am, in every respect, the most fortunate of human beings. I am in better health than any other man I know of who is my age. I am blessed with a generous annuity as a result of my years of work for the government as a linguist (seven languages), spy, and—eventually—executive. My income allowed me to buy a house that requires no yard work with a beautiful view overlooking a pond surrounded by trees. I retired from the government almost thirty years ago to write fulltime and now have six books and seventeen short stories in print. I have four children and four grandchildren who are as healthy as I am. Left alone when my beloved died a year ago last March, I have started dating again, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.
I’m in such good health primarily because to go out of my way to take care of myself. Every other day, I exercise for over two hours, lifting weights. I go for long walks around the pond in back of my house. I watch my diet taking care to eat almost exclusively fruits and vegetables, very little meat, and no sweets. I allow myself one cocktail (a gimlet) before dinner every night and drink wine with lunch and dinner, the only two meals I eat every day. I sleep at least eight hours each night and take a nap every afternoon.
My time is spent cooking (I make two soups and a bean dish from recipes I developed myself), reading (I review many books every year), and, most of all, writing. I recognize writing as my vocation. It is the hardest work I’ve ever done and the most rewarding. I do my writing in my office which takes up the largest room on the lowest floor of my split-level house.
So here I am, older than almost everyone I know, a pinnacle of health, fulfilling my calling free of concerns about money. Never in my life did I take a job for money or seek to increase my income. Instead, I simply did the work I most enjoyed or felt was most important. It turned out that being a linguist and working on the battlefield to assist friendly troops paid well. Later, I became a leader where all my contemporaries were managers—I encouraged my subordinates to be the best they could be while my fellow managers sought to control the people who worked under them. I was so successful that I rose to the top of the government executive ranks, then retired as early as I could to write fulltime.
My life, in short, is ideal. I arrived at this juncture by virtue of hard work and being willing to put my life on the line to help others. But mostly I was just lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time with the right skills.