Editorial - Friday, December 6: ‘Work’ has many guises

I'VE WORKED since I was 14 and, at the risk of giving away my age, I haven't gotten through half of my expected working life.

I'm staring down the barrel of another 35 years of work, but by the time I'm ready to put my feet up, it may be more like 40 more years.

I feel exhausted just thinking about it.

I started out writing this editorial wanting to have my say on the retirement age and potential changes but, with it being International Volunteer Day yesterday, as I wrote I couldn't quite get out of my head the people I've met along the way who, in their retirement, dedicated so much of their time to helping others.

Of course, there are many people who work or raise a family who also volunteer.

One of the "lessons in life" not included on today's page 4 and 5 spread is something that my mum always taught me: A bit of hard work is good for you.

The first definition of work in my dictionary is "physical or mental activity esp. as contrasted with play or recreation."

So, working for free by volunteering or raising a family can be good for you the same way as sitting at a desk or carrying out manual labour for a fee.

The big difference is, while there is a way to quantify how much people earn and contribute from paid employment, it's much more difficult to accurately put a price on how much people "working" in these other fields contribute to our society.

So I guess my big question is, before we go raising retirement ages, shouldn't we take a more rounded look at the reality of the situation?

And, of course, on a final note, a big thank you to those who dedicate those countless hours to our community.

There are so many of you, especially in the Valley (it didn't take long to learn that), we could fill a year's worth of papers with your stories.

We can't squeeze you all in, but we will continue singing volunteer accolades in Saturday's edition, so don't miss out.

Jenna Cairney,

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