I had a nightmare last night that my hair all fell out,* and it reminded me that one of the more perverse aspects of the, shortly, mid-twenties is that your final years of peak physical performance and mental agility – when you are best suited to know how to wisely take advantage of both – are spent impecunious, making a, for many (though happily not yet for me), boring effort to position yourself to become meaningfully solvent, which typically happens about the time that solvency isn’t good for anything but warding off total decrepitude and purchasing overpriced substitutes for less expensive goods that are, in the grand scheme of things, superfluous anyway.
A family friend once suggested – it may not be original to him – that the best societal configuration would have people retire first, and work afterward. (Jumping the gun would, presumably, be discouraged.) The fifteen or so years currently spent in retirement at the back end would instead be enjoyed, subsidized, at the front end. Difficult to imagine an efficacious structure of incentives for such a configuration, but, from where I sit, the fantasy has a lot to commend it.
It also occurs to me that a great load may be lifted once we’re no longer capable of breathtaking feats of physical-intellectual prowess (and so no longer afflicted by the considerable opportunity costs arising from those capabilities), so a comparable result might be achievable by irreparably beating the shit out of everybody who turns twenty three.
* Unamusingly, It was not frightening enough to cause all my hair to fall out.