It was the mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russell that wrote the above title for an essay. He was pushing a theory that everyone should work less. I am using it to illustrate one of the dangers of living in a retirement home – and enjoying it.
After a lifetime of working, running around to get things done, worrying about minutiae and generally being a competitor in the daily rat race, I am finding an alternative. Life in the retirement home is different. I have often heard this from friends who moved to the new lifestyle and I used to wonder how different life can be. Now I’m finding out and starting to worry that I am treading a dangerous path.
I never have to leave here, in fact if it wasn’t for odd forays to the supermarket or to the bank… and even those can be avoided. There is a mini-market here in the building. This involves an elevator trip of 3 floors and maybe pushing a small trolley back to the apartment. The bank comes here once a week, enough for my needs (again the elevator), and I can examine my overdraft on the spot. The gym is here, complete with instructor and muscle-making machines, the art group is here. The pool is under my balcony and there’s the library next door. I am force-fed culture at the 6:30 lecture every evening and I don’t have to go outside to find a synagogue. There’s even a movie once a week.
As far as food is concerned, there is a dining room which I can choose to visit or not and which even allows me to take food up to the apartment. For company there is a coffee shop and lounge and to cap it all there is a hairdresser through that door in the corner. The nurse and doctor are in the clinic and a dentist comes around.
I can’t think of anything that’s missing but I keep wondering about the difference in lifestyles between then and now. This one is dangerous – it consists of doing almost nothing!