What society needs is more free time

August 9th, 2014

We go to school for 12 years, then we go to college for another 4 to 8 years. We are already in our mid-20s by the time we can become a productive member of society. On average we die at age 80. We spend almost 1/3 of our life just getting ready, doing nothing but homework. How are we going to spend the rest?

We can do what society wants, get a nice paying job, get our 2 weeks of paid vacation a year, buy some expensive toys (we’re making lots of money anyway), then spend a bunch of money for entertainment expenses to relieve us from the stress of our day job and we are all set!

Then when we reach 65 we finally retire. Or maybe not even, maybe we can’t afford it. We have around 15 years before it’s time to go. Our body is weak, and we start wishing we did things a little differently.

What does it mean to retire? Is it just doing nothing? Is it being too old to work?

Retirement seems like a heaven we all wish to reach very soon, yet when it arrives it doesn’t seem all that rewarding. It seems like we have to “suffer” through years of tough work, long hours and slow advancements to reach it. That does not seem like a good investment of time.

How about reducing our work schedule, shifting to a simpler, less expensive lifestyle and balance our work/life ratio? Wouldn’t we have the impression that we are already retired? In other words, wouldn’t we enjoy more free time?

I have met several older gentlemen during my stay at campgrounds. It’s easy to spot the ones that are retired because they are the only ones that can afford to stay longer than 5 days. I tell them my wife and I are traveling while doing a little bit of work in the mornings to pay for the trip, then we enjoy the rest of our days doing whatever we want. Every single one of them told me that “us kids are doing the right thing” (more or less with these exact same words).

Are they right? I don’t know. But I have a feeling that they might be.

By the way, this is the last day we’ll be in the Black Hills. We loved them. Next stop is southern Minnesota.

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