Ah, retirement! A time of rest and relaxation after a lifetime of work.
Maybe the problem is that I am only semi-retired, still doing a lot of editing and writing work. Or maybe our ideas about retirement are wrong.
In any case, I have discovered what that free time after retirement is. It is all the time people expect you to contribute for free.
A friend of mine recently retired. To celebrate, he said he slept in—deliberately.
I guess that is one of the benefits of retirement. Most people only get to sleep in one or two days a week at most. I can do it more than that, but certainly not every day.
I had another friend who hated to wake up to the jarring sound of a ringing alarm clock. So, he used a “natural alarm clock.” He would take two glasses of water up to bed with him and drink them just before he fell asleep. This would guarantee that he would wake up in time to go to work in the morning. Of course, he was still a young man. If I tried it, I would wake up for work around 2:00 a.m. Even without the two glasses of water, I still often wake up around 2:00 a.m.
Anyway, this got me thinking about the great luxuries of life. Here are three.
- To sleep until you are no longer tired. It might only be 15 minutes longer, but waking up naturally allows you to start the day feeling far less stressed than if you were suddenly jerked out of a sound sleep by a blaring alarm clock reminding you of all the things that you have to do that day.
- To have a wide variety of good foods to choose from and to be able to eat until you are full. Most people in the world eat a similar diet every day. In the North American melting pot, there are Chinese, Italian, French, Japanese, French and Thai restaurants on the same street—right next to a North American burger chain and an English-style fish and chip place. Similar options are available in grocery stores and cookbooks.
- To have a ready supply of clean water and to be able to take a hot shower or bath whenever you want.
The reality is that most of us in North America have at least two of these luxuries and don’t think twice about them. And no billionaire can substantially improve on them. The billionaire might draw his shower water from a gold-plated tap, but it is the same water. He might be able to afford caviar, but most of us would rather eat something that tastes better.
We should be thankful.