Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Life You Do Not Have To Retire From

I think I know most of my readers to know that this is goal we are working towards (or have achieved, in some cases).

It cuts across the grain of most Western - or at least maybe American - thoughts of retirement.  To most, retirement means the ending of something you have to do and moving on to the things you want to do. Which, if someone really sat down and thought about it, would seem to be rather backwards - after all, one invests almost half of their life working towards the point of being able to spend the last quarter of their life (if they are lucky)  doing what they "love", perhaps only to find out that doing what you "love" is not really doing what you want at all.

How much better to work your way into a life that you enjoy every day, not just in the latter parts of it.  To be engaged both early and late in the same sorts of things, to find that your life has become one long labor of love instead of a series of chopped up movements, hermetically sealed from each other in ways that the past cannot inform the present or the future.

For most (me included) it remains more of a dream to be realized that a reality to be lived.  Because be clear:  to do this means to sacrifice at some level.  It means staying true to yourself rather than being bewitched by that which society and civilization tells you are the appropriate paths to take.  Sometimes it probably means working harder and longer than anyone else and being willing to live in ways that the most could not imagine to get the ultimate results that most only dream of.

And to those who are not there yet, it means fighting.  Every day.  Fighting against the mind-numbing, spirit-sapping call of consumerism and mediocrity, of the concept of being taken care of rather than taking care of one's self.  To save where others spend, to make do where others buy, to go without when others cannot live without.

Ultimately, to live such a live is to reclaim freedom - freedom from "wants", freedom from dependency (and not just material - those that have such a life often seem just as free from psychological dependence on others), freedom from the concept of life as we have come be told "it is" in modern Western Society.  It is, some ways, the ultimate act of individualism in a culture that has come to demand the embrace of the consumer, riches driven society in which we currently live.

"Only a few prefer liberty - the majority seek nothing more than fair masters" Gaius Sallustius Crispus (Sallust), The Histories 


  1. Hi TB :) It does take sacrifice to live the life you want but it doesn't have to be a miserable sacrifice, just a change in attitude and gradual adjustment from a life that we've been brainwashed into thinking is the norm.

    I never understood the concept of working yourself to death for someone else's profit, just to have a big house, the 2.5 children,a nice car and lots of material goods. Some people find happiness that way, so be it. But to those who question it, I think that it's really important to adopt new ideas and new lifestyles before too much regret kicks in. I mean, I'm not perfect, when I was in my 20's, I was more of a consumer...I worked the job, had the car, the condo and filled my house with stuff. "Stuff" is just that, as the saying goes 'you can't take it with you'.

    I think perception and judgmental snobbery plays a big part in people's choices. We've been conditioned in our society that living in a small cabin in the woods is for "hicks". If we don't mow our front lawn often enough, there are whispers that we are trashy. If we don't conform to everyone's opinions, then we are looked down upon. I remember when I told the former family that I wanted to move up north. I was so ridiculed because I didn't want to follow THEIR idea of how to progress in life.

    I used to care, but I don't anymore. I would more look down upon someone who follows the herd for show and status.

    I agree with you that striving for a life you don't want to retire from is the key to happiness. We all need money to live but a lot of people think they need more than they do. I found a lot of happiness and freedom when I shook off materialism and society's expectations! I think a simpler life is much more fulfilling and worth living!

    I feel like my comment is all over the place lol!

  2. Yup. Only in a place where you can do... subsistence living can you find true individualism. That word is not the right word; but I think you take my meaning.

    Thoughtful post.

  3. I had a 'moment' the other day. We are all probably about to lose our jobs at work and I told my wife that I'm not worried because all my bills are paid, we have a little money in the bank, and I can go to work for peanuts if I have to. I can literally do anything I want within reason.

    Then the wife said, "Glen - you always could..". It just hit me like a sledge hammer. Ya gotta have the house, ya gotta have the two cars, ya gotta have the toys, ya gotta have this, that and the other thing ... and it never ends.

    Think I can get an apprenticeship as a machinist or millwright at the age of 53? I'm gonna try if I find myself unemployed. :)

  4. Hardly wandering at all Rain, and very pertinent to the post. Some of what is considered "The Good Life" is truly brought on by the expectations of those around us, not just ourselves. And part of breaking away is accepting the fact that others will see it differently and be okay with it.

    Perhaps, too often, we have come to define happiness more by what we own than by what we are able to do.

  5. Thanks Linda. I use "subsistence" not necessarily in the sense of the hard scrabble farm but rather in just doing enough to meet your needs and possibly some of your wants, but not more.

  6. That scares me Glen, even if I was in the position of having all my bills caught up (they are not, by the by) - mostly because at my age (and we are of an age) I would worry about what the next thing is. For me, I can probably find work in my industry - but relocating would probably go along with it.

    Your point is well taken - stuff begets stuff, and then stuff to take care of the stuff. It is kind of never ending if you let it be.

    Machinist apprentice? Why the heck not? It is willing hands and heart that count, not just youth!

  7. I agree with TB, Glen. There are a lot of trades suffering from a lack of people who want to do the job. I'll bet if you wanted to, you could easily find an apprenticeship.

    Be safe and God bless. All of you.

  8. Reliability and experience and the ability to work hard more than compensate for youth.


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