Good for you, Ron. Sounds like you figured out the game early on. Sorry you haven’t found someone with whom to share the life you built.
I think we, or most of us, are sold the idea of what a good life is. We buy that because we don’t know anything else or because we trust those who are selling the story — parents, teachers, etc — and we don’t analyze the product being sold enough to know it’s value is questionable or we don’t have the knowledge with which to make such an analysis. But, my point was that, at one time, the product being sold wasn’t that bad of a deal and now it is.
Also, and I had to stop writing a while ago and didn’t get to this, personal lives in the past seemed simpler as you aged, at least until you reached the inevitable health issues of aging. Your kids would be self-sufficient, you had a nest egg and fewer responsibilities. Seems everyone my age and older, including myself, is helping, at least to some degree, to support grown children and grandchildren. Not because their children are lazy bums but because their kids are under-employed, underpaid, burdened with college debt, or due to divorce or physical/mental health issues. And, many of them, as I did for years, are carrying financial and other burdens of care for their elderly parents.
When I was young, people who were the age I am now and who were in similar careers as I am now, could expect to retire no later than 65 and live a reasonably comfortable life. They had pensions and could receive social security on or before the age of 65. Now social security comes later and later in life and pensions are nearly obsolete. Retirements are later and later.
My piece was prompted by a month of non-stop demands, many ludicrous and inconsiderate, professional and personal, at a time when I am moving and already have a more than full schedule. I felt like I could not escape “the clowns and pet peacocks” that hounded me. I needed a Friday rant.
Honestly, I enjoy my work but I did not expect to be working 50 to 60 hours a week at my age. Fortunately, I have the health and energy to maintain this level of activity for now. And, at least I am an independent contractor and have flexibility that employees do not. I am simply appalled at what is expected these days, especially without adequate compensation. Unlike you, I and most others did not foresee what is now our reality. Of course, much of what was not then and is now, such as the technology that keeps us tethered to our work during off-work hours, was not predictable back then. Technology made our work easier only so we could do more of it.