I'm a Hedonist

If that sounds vaguely evil, then you don't know what it means. Indeed, hedonism is often confused with debauchery—indulgence in carnal pleasure to the exclusion of all else. By contrast, hedonism can actually be very healthful, because a hedonist merely revels in all manner of human delights, large and small, when and where they can... think food, music, nature... an unexpected visit from and old friend, a newly-discovered back road, a movie that made you cry with joy... or, building your own home. And, as a retired person, I'm in a position to pursue such things more freely than most. (Epicureanism creates a more complete picture of me as a person.)

In fact, almost everything about my home is an exercise in hedonism, starting with where it's built: in the woods, with a gorgeous view. Of course, this only works for those who prefer such an environment, and me—I've been craving it for as long as I've been sentient.

The back of the house was specifically designed to maximize enjoyment of the environment with floor-to-ceiling windows, and, one day, when the deck is done, that enjoyment will be increased many-fold.

The house is not enormous; quite the contrary, it's relatively small (~800 square feet of living space), yet it's optimized to provide copious creature comforts—nothing lavish or opulent, mind you, simply comprehensive. For instance, the kitchen is designed for pleasurably efficient cooking, with plenty of counter space that incorporates a place to enjoy what's been prepared... all in one common living area.

Think of the living area as an efficiency apartment in the wilderness: the bedroom is part of the same space as the kitchen and living room, all designed expressly to connect with the environment. Why would a single person want a bunch of individual rooms? That would only force the house to be much larger than it needs to be. That great big headboard, by the way, is shaped to make it comfortable to sit up in bed to watch television or read, and it has built-in reading lamps (yes, two, on the off-chance I might have an overnight guest someday).

Then there's the bathroom. I've been mocked because it's so large compared to the rest of the house. But a bathroom is something of a sacred space. It's not just a place where you sit on the john or take a shower; it's the place, a refuge of sorts in which to find private comfort. And speaking of the shower... it's a walk-in style with two shower heads. Why? Because I built it myself, so I could make whatever I wanted. There's also a great big soaking tub in which to relax and soothe my bad back.

If these sound like "luxury" features, so what? Haven't I earned the right to have just a little luxury in my life? It's not as if it comes at the expense of someone else's rights, or to the detriment of the environment. And again, since I built it all myself, it cost a tiny fraction of what these things might be worth as part of some big, ugly McMansion. At the same time, I'm not trying to impress anyone; I've no one to impress, and zero tolerance for status symbols or conspicuous consumption—I don't have a BMW in the garage (you couldn't pay me to drive one anyway), no gold fixtures, no fine crystal, no objets de virtu. Hell, I don't even own a suit.

So, the next time you encounter the word hedonist, please take a kinder view of the person to whom it refers. We're simply trying to extend our lives by reducing stress, and we all know stress is a killer.


Copyright © 2017-2022 by David K. Smith. All Rights Reserved.
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