The creaky proverb ‘Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise’ has irritated many a dedicated night-owl, and presumably even more so, many a person who was committed to belief in the axiom and assiduously followed its recommendation while continuing to fail to become healthy, wealthy and/or wise. This precept, of course, is only one of a great many that would seem to promise the same sorts of desirable results to its practitioners. And also, of course, only one of as many that consistently fail to deliver on the promise.
Since on average, life rarely puts anyone directly on the path to success and a wonderful, comfortable retirement enjoying it–and the aforementioned life coaching doesn’t generally nudge anyone toward it either–I would think it best to choose and pursue, each of us, our own different paths as needed to try to achieve those ends. I’m not entirely sure that I see it as particularly useful to accept the proposed and codified definition of the desirable kind of aging and retirement anyway. How on earth could (or should) there really be a one-size-fits-all solution to the puzzle of what every unique human wants or should want as life goals?
The only thing I do think makes sense as a somewhat universal goal is to be as well as one can manage to be, and be doing what one loves, not more, not less. For some, that might well mean employment; there really are humans who love their jobs. For many, it would mean either finding work that is lovable or finding ways to get by without having a standard sort of job. In any case, whether it’s called Retirement or Finding Your Bliss or just plain means discovering what makes one happy and managing to capture it somehow, I like to think that doing such things at a particular time in one’s life or in a certain way is pointless and that the best solution is to do what one loves as soon and as constantly as one can possibly do. Retire at age six? Why not, really? If by retirement we mean doing and being exactly what we’re meant to be and loving it, that seems like exactly the right thing to do.