almost everyone who hears of my retirement has an incredulous look on their faces. sometimes it’s replaced with pity assuming tragedy has befallen me. at other times, envy takes over knowing full well they’re nowhere close to catching up. curiosity though is a constant regardless of first impressions.
why why why?
why would you retire? the answer often falls out of people’s mouths even before they’ve completed their question. it’s amusing how people answer themselves as if in an internal monologue. ah! you must be rich enough to retire, right? which of course leads to the next question of how did you make that happen?
but my decision to retire isn’t based on my financial standing at all. i’m rather comfortable because i believe that to be rich one either needs to earn more or spend less. so i happily oscillate between the two without much ado. money is closely associated with professional progress. but there’s more to work than meets the eye.
retirement smells like freedom. freedom to wake up every morning and wonder. to gaze at the rising sun and ask myself
what do i want to do today?
there are many who work diligently yet balance their lives well enough to stop and smell the roses. despite belonging to that tribe, i yearned for more. i not only wanted to stop working. i wanted to start playing!
but of course, work can be made playful and being the mischief monger that i am, that was always the case. and yet work is always towards an end, a goal, an outcome. i wanted something more intangible, infallible, infinite even. and this definition of play needed to be built on the ruins of work.
and why not?
let me throw a counter question back at you. and answer it myself too. why shouldn’t i retire? i don’t have any lofty goals to save the world, make it a better place or leave my offspring a cushy trust fund. this would be a good time to note that i’ve no desire in raising a family and spawning mini me(s).
also noteworthy is the fact that i’ve never really worked a day in my life. i’ve been an addict for most of my life and everything i earned was only a means to satiate hedonistic desires. so in a sense, i didn’t really work, only hustled. and if i was particularly good at what i did, it’s mostly because i’m pretty darn handy with almost everything. also because i believe in being a generalist. regardless of whether i am on or off the hedonistic treadmill.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
Robert A. Heinlein
play or work
if all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, what does all play and no work make him? that’s what this experiment of mine is going to answer. in my earlier years this attitude lead me down a dark path. today i’m a different man on a different path. today the darkness offers both solace and wisdom, not despair and desolation.
and i play in the sunshine with the darkness behind me, yet with me at every step like the eternal shadow dancing without pause. i’m sure there’s a bet against me, on how long i’ll stay retired. i’d bet on me if i were you. simply because i’d bet on me if i were me. i’ve never aimed to win in life but i’ve been to hell and back, and still haven’t lost. the game of life is more fun when you’re not thinking about winning or losing.
come on, let’s play! the end of the game is only a chance to begin afresh 🌱