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AmphitheatreSo, what do you do then?”

It’s a simple enough question that, interestingly, highlights the way in which we are expected to identify ourselves by our work.

But should we call this non-working life?

In the six weeks or so between being given notice of redundancy and finishing work, I realised that I would have no problem finding things to do: there was decorating to finish, a loft to be cleared, a pile of unread books. After all, I’d been working for the best part of forty years; I could use some time out.

So that was it then, I wasn’t going to be “unemployed” or “retired”, I was going to have a “career break”. Time to wind down, chill out, complete a few personal projects and think about the future.

I read somewhere that the Greeks had a word for work that meant something like “non-leisure”. I’ve always been interested in words, so I looked it up.

The word is schole (leisure or freedom); its opposite is ascholia (non-leisure or non-freedom). There’s a bit more to it, though. According to Plato, schole doesn’t mean sitting around munching olives and supping ambrosia – it means being free to do something more worthwhile – something with a higher purpose.  Now there’s a thought.

More ambrosia, anybody?”