Many people spend the bulk of their lives looking forward to a retirement that they may or may not be able to have. I’ve always assumed I’d have to work until I drop dead, but even I often imagine what it would be like to be the master of my own itinerary. All the time.
Here’s the thing, though (Yes, yes, there’s always a thing.): Spare time is usually not a very good thing to have. It gets you into trouble, or it causes boredom or depression, sloth, laziness, weight gain, or lethargy. It takes a highly disciplined individual (in other words, not someone like me) to fill up his or her spare time with positive pursuits.
I like to imagine myself in my dotage making cheese, sewing quilts, keeping bees, attending book clubs, volunteering and regularly exercising. But I know me. Right now when I have spare time I generally fill it with sleep and Youtube. What in my experience leads me to believe that if I had even more time I wouldn’t do even more of the same? The thought of years upon years of nothing but sleep and Youtube is a dreary concept.
While all these time-saving devices we now depend on seem like quite the luxury, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they were the main source of our increasing societal angst. When people spent days on end chopping wood and doing the laundry by hand, they didn’t have as much time to think about their contentment or lack thereof. I think there’s something to be said for that.
Yes, it would be nice to have a bit more flexibility in my schedule. It would be even nicer not to have to answer to anyone. But give me routine any day, as opposed to the vast open spaces of nothing at all to do.
It’s much better to have a list than to be listless.
[Image credit: sodahead.com]