How to Never Reach Retirement (and why that's a good thing)

[This is one of the posts telling a story from the life of my Dad. Click here to see the others.] When my Dad turned 65, I remember asking him, "So, are you going to retire?" I knew what was coming, but he said it even better than I was hoping.

"Retire? I can't think of anything I want to do less than retire."

I had no doubt something like that would be his answer, not only because I knew him well, but because I knew retirement wasn't anywhere in his genes. I watched his father work until he died at age 84, and that was the norm for him.  "I guess I can't think of anyone in my family who ever retired," he said.

We get bombarded with advertisements telling us that we're not saving enough for retirement, and I'm enough of a student of Dave Ramsey to know that habits like saving money in retirement accounts, living on less than we make, and not depending on the government to provide for us in our later years are essential to our own well being and that of our families and society. But those things usually aren't the point of the ads. Rather, they seem to want to send us into a panic so that we'll work longer hours, invest more money in their firm, and be able to retire at an early age to... do what?

Rather than following the ads' advice to work like the dickens now so that I'll be able to quit working early and finally enjoy my life, I'd greatly prefer to take my Dad's approach: Find a lifestyle now which I love, and of which my work is a natural part, so that what I do now and what I dream of doing as doing whatever I want are the exact same thing.