Whenever I’ve imagined myself sitting behind a desk or in a cubicle doing meaningless, unfulfilling work until I’m sixty-five, I feel a sense of nausea and dread. It’s a terrible life to imagine. It has never made sense to me that people would spend their entire lives being miserable and postponing fun, exciting, interesting experiences until they are too old to truly enjoy them.
By the time one reaches retirement age, it’s pretty likely that they have become jaded and embittered by a life of toil and hardship and probably don’t know how to have fun anymore. Plus, their body is now quite weary, their health is likely not nearly as good as it was in their 30’s and what would have been a lot of fun years ago would now just be an exhausting chore.
That whole scenario seems so backwards and illogical that I don’t see why so many people buy into it. Yet, I seem to be the odd one out. I figure that as long as I have reasonably decent food and shelter in the later years of my life, that’s enough. Plus, many people save for their entire lives and get to retirement and then have an injury or some other medical issue which eats up most, if not all of their savings. Their whole life of toil was wasted. They struggled in vain.
How terribly sad it must be for these people, having worked so hard all their lives, looking forward to that time when they can finally relax and maybe take that vacation they’ve always wanted, and then they end up having to move in with their kids, or worse.
I would much rather save some money for later, but use a good deal of it to have great experiences throughout my life. Regardless of what happens when I’m 65, I’ll at least be at that age knowing that I lived a very interesting and fun life, and I will not have many regrets.
Many of those who are elderly and know they are not long for this world often express very similar regrets. They admonish those who are younger to relax, slow down, enjoy their lives, go to the places they want to see, have the experiences they want to have, and do it while they’re young(er). They don’t regret not having worked enough. They regret not having lived enough. I choose to take their advice.
Regardless of what awaits us after we die, whether it’s heaven or hell, reincarnation or a dirtnap, I sure as hell don’t want to waste my life being miserable. Whether you’ll live for decades or die tomorrow, wouldn’t you rather enjoy today?
© 2015 William Suphan
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