(Some initial thoughts on a book)
My son was retired yesterday. He didn't resist. They never do. I wish I was like everybody else.
I am used to the attic now. For the first few years I resented it, I even tried to crawl out and move about the house. But S caught me doing it once and thereafter he locked it. Slowly I got used to it. I hardly moved out, I had my books, my movies and my writing to keep me busy.
Self-sufficiency is so under-appreciated. It's so true - before I came upstairs, I had never understood the hikikomori. I thought they were weird, but I get it know. There is so much within each of us. 40 years - I have spent 40 years myself, alone, hidden, with nothing else to think about but myself, and how it all came to this.
Very few people know about this but the "retirement plan" was first talked about in 2010. It came from what was a broader macroeconomic paper looking at different ways of resurrecting the Japanese economy. It concluded that the inverted population pyramid was THE cause of the slowdown, and that they needed a retirement plan that would be economically viable. I was doing my MBA then, and it was a paper I came across then. I remember thinking there was something wrong somewhere but I couldn't put my finger onto it.
I remember many events from those days very vividly, but I still find it difficult to piece together all of it. Not that I had a lot of time to. I was working very hard. Still, I travelled quite a bit and I heard people moving from an academic discussion on the plan to more implementable ways of getting there. They only talked about it with their best friends, and were very discreet about it. But slowly and surely, the idea was gaining ground.
I think the event that took the idea over the hump was the results of the euthanasia trial that occurred in Norway in 2020. Euthanasia had been legalized in 2012, and retrospectively, they had seen applications for for euthanasia jump to as much as 60% for people over 80. The Norwegian government took lots of pains to emphasize the success of their decision, and the positive effect it was having on their economy.
People took notice. And they thought about it.