Live Life As If You Were Already Retired

From the time we begin our adult working life, we are inoculated with the belief that we should plan, save and direct substantial amounts of our energy toward being ready for retirement.  Yet, we live a retired lifestyle for an average of sixteen years, and work for nearly 40. So where is the wisdom of focusing on the future, when it is so distant and such a small portion of our adult life?

The concept of retirement planning is, of course, with merit.  However, living for today also carries merit.  There are extremes of lifestyle focused in each of these directions, with those that indolently absorb the moment, but are totally unprepared for any contingency or emergency that may arise, counting on society to take care of their needs.  On the other hand, there are frugal, obsessive individuals who hoard pennies to be ready for old age, and, when old age arrives, fret over every coin that is spent, even when faced with the truth that they have more than enough set aside to live comfortably.  In the middle is the route to comfort and balance, making the most of each moment without selfish indulgence.

Unfortunately, modern technologies and modern standards blur the lines between responsible work and planning, enjoying one’s life and being a contributing part of the world around us.  Our laptop computers, tablets and smart phones carry our personal lives to work, our business lives home.  Exclusive, valued time spent with close friends has become shared with Facebook and Twitter, email and text friendships at our fingertips.   Quiet time frequently is shattered with the beep, tweet, chirp, ring or jingle that alerts us to incoming communications.  Few of us demonstrate the will power or social awareness to defer answering these devices, regardless of where we are or what we may be doing.  We live, not for the moment, but governed by that moment – a moment owned by whoever is intruding into our time.  There is no exclusivity to our time, whether it be…

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