What propels you to get up each morning, aside from the call of Nature? Do you get back in bed, pull the covers over your head, and hit the snooze button several times?

Now imagine you are a serf during the Middle Ages. Unless you happen to be a king, a lord, a cardinal of the Catholic Church, or the Pope, life is hell.

Things were unsanitary, stinky, and in general miserable. Their mud houses had dirt floors. And Tempurpedic mattresses or Select Comfort beds did not exist. No silky sheets to caress your callused posterior.

If you were not “to the manor born,” your lot in life was serfdom. You got up toiled on the lord’s land, then you worked the land you inherited or allotted to you by the lord. For the average serf, job advancement did not exist. Back then, since the life expectancy of a serf was only thirty-five years, retirement meant you died.

Even though you were literally dirt poor, the lord still demanded taxes and fees. If you inherited the land, you paid a fee. If you wanted to marry, the lord must give his permission, plus you paid another fee. If the lord or the king decided to go to war, the serfs had to pitch in and help pay taxes to enable the lord in his often dastardly endeavors. As you can see, when taxes and fees come into play, things have not changed much.

This writer often wonders how the serfs managed to get up and function each day until the day they died. And yet, the human spirit of man helped. Or, perhaps man’s purpose in life is to entertain.

Since immortality is a long bloody time, the inevitable boredom of endless existence needs a diversion. Who better to fill that need than humans? If you happen to be a people watcher, they tend to amuse.

Modern life presents countless possibilities and reasons to get out of bed every day. But you still need a purpose to flip back the covers. So, why do you think you must work? Is it as simple as I have to go to work because I love it? Or, I hate my job, but without an income, I will end up homeless. If I become homeless, I cannot pay my mortgage or rent. If I am homeless, I will not be able to afford the clothes I like or the foods that make my palate sing. Or, I need my job because it and my title define me. Without work, there is nothing.

Unfortunately, the last reason on the list applies to many people, especially men. But, more and more, it applies to many women as well.

If people retire or, as the British like to say, made redundant or laid off, they often believe they have lost their purpose. Their raison d’etre, if you will. That is the reason so many men die within six months to a year following retirement. Of course, the ones willing to look beyond the moment see possibilities and make plans.

Hubby’s father, like this lady’s father, was a hard worker. When it came to supporting the family, no job was too menial. For example, when a government facility that employed countless men in the area closed, Papa found work for a dollar a day. Many of the other men sat on their butts and complained about hard times.

As retirement loomed, the size of Papa’s garden grew exponentially. He and Mom grew a ton of produce. Plus, he loved to read, fish, and fix things.

The lesson, far too many folks today fail to realize is that, unlike the serfs of the Middle Ages, hard work equals success.

But like many of those old neighbors, it is far easier to sit, eat unhealthy foods and complain or riot and steal from those who flip back the covers each day and find a positive purpose in their lives.

 

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