One's emotional state of mind has a great deal to do with one's health and physical well-being; and I think it goes without saying, to have a career as prolific and extensive as Paterno's - for it to end the way it did, could weigh very heavily on the mind soul and spirit. Joe Paterno was known to have once said something along the lines of without football in his life, his life would be over. As things have unfolded he spoke his reality into existence.
On one of the interludes of her album "Velvet Rope," Janet Jackson says, "How empty of me to be so full of you." What happened to Paterno happens to so many people on a variety of levels every day. People lose themselves in all sorts of things that do not return equal or greater value. In the end, they find themselves in various states of hopelessness and depression. Look at the woman who puts her dreams on hold to support her husband and raise their children. Look at the man who falls in love with a woman, gets married and counts his own friends in that part of the vow that says "forsaking all others." These are people who after years have gone by, find themselves resenting the very people they invested so much of themselves into.
Careers that can be very consuming emotionally, can take a heavy toll on people. Police officers & firefighters, for example tend to die within 10 years after retiring from the job. Why is that? The human body & mind endure and carry a great deal in those professions. Imagine the person as an empty container that over the course of 20-25+ years fills up with eating certain foods at certain times, ripping and running, and dealing with all kinds of different people and situations - good bad and ugly ... and then it stops. The person is no longer in control. There are no more bad guys to lock up, fires to put out, tickets to write, or ladders to climb. And because they did not have many if any other activities or interests outside of and away from the job, when the job is gone, as Paterno alluded, life is over. It's just a matter of waiting for the clock to stop ticking.
I retired from Law Enforcement last year; however, I'm not afraid of my clock stopping anytime soon. In fact - for ME - it's like MY clock just got extended! Why? Because, recognizing what was stated above, I began building something different and separate from the job over five years ago. I began speaking and writing as something I would do after 25 years on the job. I wasn't really expecting to retire from the job 15 years early, but even still ... Because I had built other interests and developed other friendships away from the job, I was able to cross-over into civilian life almost seamlessly. In fact, I have a fond appreciation for NOT having to fulfill the responsibilities of my former obligation!
Now, I'm not saying don't put your best efforts into your vocation. What I am saying is that one should not put all his or her emotional being into anything that is not repaying him or her in kind. There is a word for people who break their backs - be it physically or emotionally - yet get little to nothing in return ... And that word is "SLAVE." Don't be a slave to your occupation. Don't be a slave to your marriage or other relationships.
Whatever you invest yourself into will produce a return. Just as you must over see how the market handles any money you may have invested into it, you must pay close attention to what's going on in your life so that you can see if you're getting back all that you're putting in. The only time one's life should be over should not be based on whether or not there's a job left to do, but based on there not being any living left to do.