Everyone hopes for a peaceful, easy retirement.
Philosopher Henry David Thoreau’s advice on achieving the uncomplicated life we normally associate with retirement was “Simplify, simplify, simplify.”
Thoreau complained that our life “is frittered away by detail.” His advice: “Let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand.”
Thoreau was a man of modest means. He lived a simple day-to-day existence off the land and in a cabin. As a follower of Transcendentalism, he didn’t care much about creature comforts and security. In fact, Thoreau said, “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”
But life in 1850 Massachusetts was far simpler than in 21st century America. We are living longer and things are far more expensive. We can look forward to living well into or past our 80s. Thoreau died in 1862 at age 45. So, he didn’t have tons of time for walks in the wood contemplating nature or enjoying the second chance at parenthood that having grandchildren brings.