In a recent episode of our podcast ExpaTalk, we interviewed Syrian-Canadian poet and author Jackleen Salman who told us an anecdote about her late father.

He used to ask her, “When will you stop writing?.” Her response would be, “I will when you stop gardening.”

I have been thinking about this question for a while now.

When will I stop writing?

I know for sure that I won’t stop writing. I don’t know how many years I will be granted in this life, but what I know for certain is that I will keep writing until I’m physically and mentally able. The career that I chose is not one you retire from, and I’m okay with that.

While reading the book Ikigai by Hector Garcia and Frances Miralles, I learned that Japanese people never really retire. Many of them keep doing what they love for as long as their health allows.

There is no word in Japanese that means retire as in English. According to National Geographic reporter Dan Buettner, having a purpose in life is so important in Japanese that the idea of retirement simply doesn’t exist there.

This story also brought to my mind a line from the highly-acclaimed musical Hamilton. In the musical, Alexander Hamilton is being asked:

“Why do you write like you are running out of time?”

“Write day and night like you’re running out of time?”

do write like I’m running out of time. Every day that passes, I run out of time, and I want to keep doing it as long as I have time left.

Will you ever stop writing?

To listen to our podcast (in Arabic) with Syrian-Canadian poet and author Jackleen Salman click here.

Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels