By Wayne William Cipriano
They say that youth is wasted on the young – I suppose because once we are old enough to appreciate youth, for us it is gone. But retirement, no matter how long anticipated, is far better in fact than in fantasy regardless at what age it occurs, and is even more greatly enhanced when done in the company of an intelligent, humorous, beautiful person.
There is no doubt that for most of us the financial stability of retirement is another huge plus. Whether we worked for someone or some entity, or were self-employed, the insecurity of layoffs, firing, business closings, customer or client drought, and the myriad of other concerns that impacted our income, disappears in retirement.
Likewise, health care, a concern that effects us so little when we are young and immortal, creeps up in importance. Not only do we need it more, but also just as it becomes more central in our lives the cost of necessary health care seems to rocket upwards.
Both these considerations are dispelled by virtue of the “Granny State,” “Creeping Socialism,” and whatever distasteful label we place on the organization that administers the benefits most of us earned during our working lives, Social Security and Medicare, and will do so for as long as we live.
Of course the benefits of retirement only begin here. We do not have to shop for clothes as often, and we pay much less for gasoline. Much less time is spent in barber shops (I’ve been told) and beauty parlors. The children in our lives are returnable to their parents at any time. Golfing, bowling, fishing, hunting, biking, hiking, reading, on and on, whenever you like, for as long as you like, benefit after benefit, all derived simply by living long enough to achieve retirement.
One of the greatest benefits for me, and I understand this is arguable, is forgetting how to set the alarm clock. Somewhat of an exaggeration, but we probably do not use the alarm more than once a month, if that.
Yes, the benefit I really appreciate equal to financial stability, health care, and the others mentions, is the freedom to awaken when we are rested, when our bodies tell us we have had enough sleep. The freedom to say up at night as late as we wish. To listen to the radio and watch television, to read or watch a movie, to visit someone or drive somewhere or just sit and think. To do whatever we like, for as long as we like, and then lie down to sleep whenever we wish and never be awakened by the jangling, buzzing, beeping alarm that forces us to awaken before we are ready. Avoiding that foggy disconnected stumbling about trying to get the coffee going, that coppery taste your body lays on you saying you need more sleep. And, no drooping around ten o’clock in the morning when a “nice little nap” seems so appropriate.
Getting up early now and then to help a neighbor with fencing, or make a morning appointment in Springfield, or call an old college roommate at dawn on his birthday are all reasons why I never gave in to the temptation to hammer our alarm clock into silence, and they occur just frequently enough to underscore the continuing benevolence of retirement.
It is a wonderful thing and worth every bit of the effort it took to get here. And, being the Commander of Your Own Life, the Dictator of Your Schedule, uncontrolled by that dastardly alarm clock, has to be one of the greatest of all the unsung benefits of retirement!