After committing decades to scrimping, saving, frugalizing and general indentured servitude, I have looked deep within and determined it’s time to retire and enjoy my remaining life. The only snag comes courtesy of those darn online life-expectancy calculators — all of which suggest my remaining life will extend a dozen years past the demise of my savings.
Which makes me wonder why, six years ago, I bothered to adopt a healthy, active, nutritionally balanced lifestyle. Retirement would be firmly in my grasp if only I’d embraced donut brunches, whisky lunches, and a casual crystal meth habit. Fortunately, in spite of my ill-considered healthy proclivities, I doubt I’ll actually survive those extra 12 years on $0. So I guess that’s the upside — albeit one with its own significant downside.
Still, retirement is an intriguing prospect — but not because I want to spend my days roasting in the sun on some tropical beach; or playing golf; or taking pottery classes; or chasing kids off my lawn. I don’t even want a lawn! Rather, it’s because I need time to work on things that really matter. I’ve got albums to record; electronic music performances to give; maybe I’ll even get around to finishing that opera I started in 1991. There are photo books yet to shoot, curate and publish; exhibitions to plan. Perhaps a tome of antiwisdom, or even a screenplay awaits. Maybe I’ll even direct it. The world is awash with job opportunities just waiting to pay me with a pocketful of smiles and a fistful of legacy. If only goods and service providers didn’t prefer their invoices be paid with nifty plastic Canadian bank notes.
Between the time spent being someone’s employee; the time spent reclaiming my soul after doing so; the bill paying; the inordinate amount of effort needed to rectify other people’s screw ups; the cooking; the cleaning; the sleeping; and all the general health requirements dictated by the life expectancy calculator, I still manage to set aside 14 minutes of “me” time per day. 14 minutes of “me” time per day works out to 7 hours of “me” time per month — which, not coincidentally, is about how long it takes to squeeze out another mediocre ULTRAsomething article (though I often have to forgo a couple nights of sleep in order to finish).
In fact, the only reason ULTRAsomething is still hanging around is it helps scratch my creative itch. Unfortunately, my creative itch is a bad case of poison ivy, peppered in chigger bites, and wrapped in poison oak — while ULTRAsomething is but a teaspoon of expired calamine lotion.
The ticking of time has become a thundering pulse — a relentless reminder that meaningful creations will require more effort than a smattering of minutes can provide. A megafied ULTRAsomething — complete with content that matters and long-term, large-scale projects — that’s my retirement goal.
I’ve long dreamed of finding an employer for whom my skills and passion have value, thus negating the need to ever retire. Or a patron of the arts who actually connects with my idea of what constitutes art. Alas, if I haven’t found them yet, they probably don’t exist. Which means the scrimping, saving, frugalizing and general indentured servitude must continue ad infinitum. I’m not sure exactly how long “infinitum” lasts, but it sounds like an awfully long time. Too long, actually. Anyone know where I can find a really good french cruller and a reliable supply of quality crystal meth?
©2019 grEGORy simpson
ABOUT THE ARTICLE & PHOTOS:
If this article seems a bit short, there’s a good reason: I burned a significant quantity of my 14 minutes/day (and several additional nights’ sleep) exploring the technological needs of a potential larger-scale electronic music project. Which probably had a whole lot to do with inspiring this essay.
The accompanying photos may or may not have meaning. I’ll let you decide. They were, however, all taken with digital cameras (one on a Ricoh GR; and two on a Ricoh GRIII) ’cause who has the time to develop and scan film?
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