I wasn’t kidding when I said my next post would be about retirement. Here it is.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about retirement. Yes, you read that right. Yes, I am 20 years old. No, even my own parents haven’t retired yet. So what am I doing thinking about retirement? Well, I’m obviously about to tell you.
It’s not than I’m lazy. Sure, I can be sometimes, but I promise I am not a characteristically lazy human being. I like to believe I am a generally a productive person; I don’t procrastinate my work, I am phenomenally punctual, and I get stuff done when it needs to be done (or a solid week before, cuz anxiety). That being said, I am so over doing things I don’t enjoy simply for the sake of making money or getting a piece of paper to prove my intelligence (aka a degree). I know, I’m way too young to be “over” this stuff. My professional adult life has barely just begun and I’m in for a lifetime of hard work.
I got started thinking about retirement when I realized that I have a lot on my plate this semester. My courses have some pretty heavy work loads, which I’m not overly enthused about. I know I’m here to work and get an education, but sometimes it seems like way too much and I wonder why the amount of work always seems to outweigh the amount of play. Some people enjoy being busy all the time with something to do constantly. I understand that to an extent, but I am much more of a person who likes to enjoy life and not have too much going on at once. I definitely do not need to be busy all the time to feel fulfilled and happy; I feel happiest when I have a good balance between work and play, but of course my idea of “balance” involves just a little bit more play than work. But not because I’m lazy- because I want to do things I enjoy, like getting outside and hiking, or trying out a new soup recipe, or just sitting in my room watching TV. That last one always gets tagged in the lazy category- but why? Why is sitting in the comfort of your own bed while enjoying a cinematic production that makes you laugh considered lazy? Why do we have to spend the daytime hours working a job or in school, only to have to do MORE work or school before going to bed and doing the same thing the next day? We are robots taught that the most important thing is being busy and making money, and if you spend too much time doing things you enjoy that are less productive, you are considered to be lazy and unmotivated. To me, there is nothing lazy about doing something you enjoy doing. Sure, it’s important to be a productive member of society, but there’s no shame in spending your free time curled up watching your favourite show.
So, saying I am looking forward to retirement makes me sound lazy, because we associate that with not wanting to work to earn my own living. I only say I look forward to it because in this world it feels like we have to work constantly until we’ve made enough money to retire comfortably, and that just doesn’t seem right. I will never be as young and capable as I am right now and yet I can’t just pick up and travel the world or do whatever the heck else I would rather do as I have no money and am in the middle of my degree. That being said, at this point in my life I am so painfully uninterested in doing things I don’t enjoy like writing papers about books I don’t want to read or studying material I’m not interested in all so I can succeed on tests and prove that I am a somewhat smart human worthy of employment…
My most recent dream is to own a berry farm and make jam. I’m not kidding. I love jam, I love fruit, and I love sunny warm weather. I would love to live on a big piece of land and grow fresh fruit, make it into some healthy organic jam, and make a little business out of that. Even better, let’s throw a vineyard in there too. That is my dream right now. But it’s not realistic; I don’t know the first thing about growing fruit, or making jam, and I’m Canadian so the options for a city that is warm year-round are literally nonexistent. I’m not sure what the rules are about moving to the States without a job or spouse waiting for you down there, so I’m guessing that’s pretty much out of the question. Not that I would want to be American, anyway, I just want to live in a warm, sunny, small town where I can make my jam in peace and end the day by watching the sunset on my wrap around porch while drinking homemade lemonade! (Oh yeah, I’ll have lemon trees too!)
When you talk about idyllic dreams like this, people usually will say “Oh! That would be a lovely way to retire one day!” or something along those lines. It seems like the kind of place you go when you’re done with the hustle and bustle of everyday life and are ready to slow down and relax. But you know what! I’m ready to slow down now! I think everyone would benefit from slowing down a little. Life always seems to be about meeting the next goal these days; we so rarely soak up the little things and celebrate each little achievement without immediately thinking “what’s next?” Not that that’s always a bad thing- it’s great to want to improve yourself and your work, but it seems like no one is ever satisfied and is ready to move right on to the next project as soon as the previous one is accomplished. I’d like to think I would wake up every morning to go about my jam making business and would actually enjoy it. At least I think I would enjoy it immensely more than waking up early for any conventional or “normal” job. I’ll never know that for sure, though, unless these dreams come to fruition (literally).
I’ll wrap this up by defining the word “retire”. It is not solely defined as leaving work once you reach a certain age. There are many definitions of retire, including: “to withdraw, or go away or apart, to a place of privacy, shelter, or seclusion” or better yet, something as simple as “to go to bed”. Retiring is merely an act of withdrawing from this crazy world and finding a sanctuary away from the chaos of everyday life. So I hope to be able to retire one day, not because I’m old and can’t work anymore, but because I want to live a simple but fulfilling life away from the stress of this chaotic and competitive world (although things will get pretty competitive with my damn good jam on the market, I’ll tell ya that)
If all goes as planned and I manage to find a warm, Canadian place where I can grow my berries and start my jam business, then my desired “retirement” could come sooner rather than later! I am willing to offer a lifetime supply of jam for anyone who can find me the perfect spot to start this dream of mine… and maybe help me finance it too. 🙂
PS. Another not so peachy post, I know. My apologies. I’m going to try to bring more positivity to this blog from here on out, I just need to get my I-hate-university, f*ck-the-system feelings out of the way first 🙂