20 Reasons I'll ♥Retirement
By Stanley Bing

(FORTUNE Magazine) – 1. Waking every morning with a smile on my face, knowing that no matter what happens, nobody's going to get in it.

2. Taking a stroll to someplace where I don't have to be, to do nothing for nobody in particular. Feeding some birds.

3. Traveling the world with a toothbrush, a credit card, and the one I love, nothing but time on my hands. The world! What a concept! Paris! Rome! New Zealand! I've always wanted to go there, especially. They have lamb.

4. That first mouthful of freshly squeezed orange juice on this gorgeous terrace that overlooks some fabulous place on this great globe of ours, a cold and stunningly fresh glass of sunshine that, now that I think about it, costs $11 in this imaginary hotel. And the American breakfast is $34! Man! For a lousy plate of ... what is this? Corned-beef hash? Who ordered this? Me? What was I thinking? What's life going to be like without an expense account? Who am I kidding? Come on, man. Suck it up. You've been cogitating on this since you were 40, slaving away every morning, fighting your way through traffic to get to a place where the first thing that happened was that you got yelled at.

5. Not getting yelled at.

6. No BlackBerry tethered to me like a colostomy bag.

7. No presentations to securities analysts. No dreaming up brainless deals to bump the price of the stock. No mergers to dread. And no jerks! Imagine that! Ha!

8. No feeling underpaid. Every other week, and at bonus time, I used to look at my check that started out all nice and plump as a baby's bottom and see how the feds and the rest of the machinery of the state took the hose to it until it was a sorry little thing indeed. I won't have to deal with that. In fact, I won't be dependent on the Man at all, because I'll be ...

9. ... watching my investments grow. You bet. True, my track record has been friggin' dismal, but I've been strategizing about this for decades, reading helpful newsletters on the subject, and my HR department has been printing out those little charts for me every year showing how well I'm doing with their defined-benefit pension plan, so I guess I'll be fine, right? Better than fine! Right?

10. I can't wait to get a good night's sleep, uninterrupted by tormented thoughts about idiotic, work-related junk. Boy, won't that be nice. Although some of the actual content of it got kind of interesting in the past couple of years, when all the mung that used to clog up my fish tank got assigned by me to other people. My people, God bless 'em. Our little team. Sure, they aggravated me a lot of the time, and needed to get their butts kicked now and then. That wasn't fun. So I guess I'm looking forward to not having to kick anybody's butt anymore.

11. Or going to their dumb old birthday parties. Or picnics. Or finding them in my doorway with need all over their faces, yearning for a little quality time with me. All that human interaction, which is so much of what being a boss is all about. I won't miss that one bit, I bet. No, I'm sure I won't. Not much at all.

12. Not having to read the morning paper for news of my company, standing up at the kitchen sink with some toast and my heart in my mouth, realizing that most of the time they get it completely wrong, and heading in to the office to meet with my pals and figure out how we're going to deal with the fallout from what those morons in the media have done now. The passion! The blood boiling! The ferment of life running in our veins! The total exasperation! Good riddance!

13. Not having to eat lunch every day with a stream of kindly strangers who want something from me. Won't that be nice ... although the food was generally quite good. And they treated me well too. Like, I was always at the same table at the front of the restaurant. People came over to kiss my ring. Now I'll sit behind the mirrored post with the geezers. That will be relaxing.

14. Actually, having lunch at my apartment in peace doesn't look too bad. I've always liked a peanut butter--and--jelly sandwich. Or a hot dog. Both are very good and also, you know, cheap. And easy to chew.

15. Having the time to read the great books. The really great ones, I mean. Like Proust. He's really awesome. Yeah. I really look forward to broad, empty spans of time in which I can read Proust.

16. Sitting on a park bench with nothing on my mind, snoozing a little, remembering all the things I did in my life and realizing how much lies behind, and wondering what lies ahead. And knowing.

17. Senior prices everywhere I go.

18. An eternity of golf.

19. Mall walking in enormous sunglasses that fit over my other sunglasses.

20. Nothing.

Good God--why is retirement wasted on the old? ■

STANLEY BING's latest book, Sun Tzu Was a Sissy: Conquer Your Enemies, Promote Your Friends, and Wage the REAL Art of War (HarperBusiness), is available at finer bookstores everywhere. He can be reached at stanleybing@aol.com.