In Praise of Idleness

It was the mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russell who wrote the above title for one of his essays. 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 part of the rat race, I am finding an alternative. Life in the retirement home is different. I have heard this many times 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 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 do my business on the spot. The gym is here, complete with instructor and muscle-making machines, the art studio 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 in the auditorium and I don’t have to go outside to find a synagogue. There’s even a movie once a week. Of course huge globs of time are spent in the elevator.

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. Everything requires the elevator.

All that’s missing is a “Lubrication Point”, a watering hole where one can get a little something to oil the creaky joints and ward off pesky neighbors. I can’t think of anything else that’s missing. This lifestyle could be dangerous. If that elevator stops working…

About the Author
Leon Moss grew up in South Africa and has lived in Israel for 35 years; He is a construction estimator by profession, and has been a freelance writer for the past 10 years, writing odd stories, articles and web content. Leon paints and works hard at being retired. He and his wife live in a retirement home in central Israel.