The splendor of retirement!

Everybody is so worried, worried about their damn retirement. They stash money away in (hopefully) interest-bearing accounts and real estate. Especially people who happen to be in my age-bracket and later. Everyone obsesses about retirement. What’s the big deal? I don’t understand the fascination with retirement as an enticement. People belittle the pittance they will receive from Social Security, which is in fact, very much a pittance. People are taken with the notion and fantasy that they will lead an extravagant life when they retire from the work force. Who cares? I don’t see the big deal.

First of all, you might possibly drop dead tomorrow. Big effin deal.

You socked all your money away in a cozy nest awaiting that glorious day you turn 65 but instead you’re eating earthworms. Ha! What’s so magical about retirement? You’ll be old and probably listless. I have an Uncle who is living the idyllic retirement dream according to our society. He is reasonably healthy, financially secure, owns a house, a large family of spawn, a wife who he travels with globally several times each year. I can understand why this might be construed as the “model retirement.” Frankly, I don’t care for that life. Travelling is fine but overrated. What can you do elsewhere, frolicking in distant lands, that will benefit you here and now? So what, big deal…you rack up boastful memories you can spit out like a tired slideshow when people ask (or don’t). Spoken memory is weak and serves no purpose. The only way people can experience travel is to…travel. Your experiences convey shit when verbalized. They mean nothing to anyone but yourself. The vivid experience of travelling does not relay well. It is diluted when narrated after the fact. So travelling is not the greatest draw for retirement, in my mind.

In fact, when and if I retire, I plan on continuing living as I presently live, with perhaps a few tweaks, but I’ll still be leading this freakishly ascetic life boasting of minimal needs and desires to match. If it wasn’t for housing, my monthly expenses are about $500. I’m guessing high. I don’t go out, I don’t eat out, I have no need for external entertainment. Entertainment bores me. I rarely buy big ticket items and even then, I pay cash, or I pay them off slowly over the full course of the interest-free promotional period. I have no highfalutin consumerist ambitions or delusions of exaggerated extravagance. I don’t need to globetrot my old ass around wasting time on planes or unfamiliar cities or standing in customs lines. Fuck that. As long as I have books to read, this damned internet to make me think I’m involved, I have no demanding post-retirement goals other than to remain somewhat healthy.

People excitedly talk about their retirement as if it is some prized golden goose that awaits their senior life with feasts of wonder. People have this vague idealization of a life they want to live when they’re old and it is very much unlike the life they lead now. They look at post-retirement as a permanent vacation with all the time in the world to do stupid wasteful shit they are too broke and pressed for time to do now. People are trained to want more, more, more, even when their earning days are over. They are not trained to work with less, less…

Let me tell you: my vacation days are generally spent doing laundry, going to the store, surfing the internet, reading, writing stupid blog crap, maybe shopping for some lame cheap clothes. That’s it. It’s the retirement-fixated folk who can’t quit this incessant planning for an imaginary world that hasn’t panned out yet. People need to train themselves to live on less. Learn to enjoy dog food and insects if necessary. Only by lowering our expectations will the stress of a dream retirement lack claws with which to drag us down into the dungeon of hyperbolic golden ambition. This retirement thing is a harmful industry and it only deludes people into thinking they know what they want for their retirement. It frequently has nothing to do with what they can do without.