It was an annoyingly persistent question posed which I had no urge to answer or even discuss. After it was asked and prodded like the third time, I finally answered truthfully, “I don’t know, I really don’t care, I don’t think about that.”
“But what do you want to do when you retire? Don’t you look forward to it? You’ll have time to do everything you want!”
Why think about this?
It does nothing for me. I’ve never been a fantasizing type of person. I’ve never elevated life beyond what it is. I don’t buy lottery tikets because I can never imagine myself winning, I don’t gamble, I don’t do lots of shit that I would if I was prone to flights of fancy, which I assuredly am not. I had to explain to her that I’m not a dreamer. Maybe when I was younger. My world is now, today, here…I don’t think about an idyllic future or a counter reality and I don’t care to lose myself imagining a day when I don’t work simply because I don’t dislike work that much. I actually enjoy dragging myself out of bed and interacting with tons of people on daily basis who I don’t greatly dislike or like. I am Mr. Neutral Man. Very few people provoke ire or love from me. Very few things in this life affect me so strongly, either. Most everything is straight up bullshit. It’s hard enough avoiding the nonsense, much less fixating on stupid dreams. Work isn’t fun in the prototypical sense, but I can think of very little else I’d rather be doing. Work keeps me occupied and it allows me to somewhat channel my mental energies in a so-called constructive fashion. Work is not the bane of my existence. Reality isn’t that bad for me that I seek to escape into the promised land of retirement. Maybe retirement won’t be so grand. Maybe I won’t reach it. Maybe, maybe. Life is so full of maybe’s, why worry about crap like this.
I work with so many people who seem to despise the fact they have to work. Their day seems to be spent minimizing the intensity of their work experience and they are consistently drawn into disruptive pockets of their blissful private life at the expense of work. They are are scattered and unfocused and all they want to do is have a good time. They are like children. They can’t buckle down and just be adults. They come to work grouchy and ill-mannered. They don’t want to be there, it’s obvious. They live for the moment they can clock out and do whatever it is they do on their own time which is probably really stupid shit. These people live on a roller coaster of existence. If they are doing what they consider “fun,” they are happy; once it comes time to pay the piper, they turn into sour wretches.
So when I’m asked if I look forward to retirement and the Utopian existence that awaits the other side of that bridge, how am I supposed to answer? Who knows. I don’t think about it. Why waste mental energy on something that hasn’t happened? It does me no good to shroud my reality around an unproven future. Maybe I will enjoy retirement, maybe I won’t. I might be one of those men who retires, and thus losing the structured escape of responsible existence, loses the will to live, and dies shortly after. Or I might enjoy doing stupid useless crap that seems to amuse normal people. I don’t know. I do love the structure of work. I love the framework it provides over the onging spectacle of my adult life. Work is not fun, but it is not grueling either. We should be happy if we are healthy enough to work, and fortunate enough to have jobs.
I thought of this because today I had the day off and even though I was able to keep somewhat busy with my son, days off seem open-ended and incomplete at times. There is an ethereal and expectant leisure to them that disconcerts me. Sometimes I feel like I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m not the type of person to get bored and there are many times I can sit and stare at the wall for hours. I don’t really enjoy many “normal” activities which is one reason retirement does not tempt. When my day is unstructured, I will frequently find myself in trouble. Unstructured days off are the reason I am divorced and when I almost got killed in a drunken car accident.
What else are days off for if not to tempt the ends of fate?