Becoming Le Bon Vivant

Le Bon Vivant

I had an interesting phone call yesterday with a very close friend who is about to retire. Talking through the logistics of his transition into retirement such as health insurance, social security financials, etc.. we got down to discussing what most impending retirees want to know which is, “what the hell am I going to do with myself?”. It seems that the most common advice friends give to pending retirees is ….get a part time job or have a plan to keep yourself busy or else you’ll got crazy. I suppose that could be good advice for some, but I find that somewhat unimaginative to be frank. I mean, who in their right mind quits a job to get a less paying job… or makes a life plan that involves a honey do list?

We talked about having pre-retirement anxiety which understandably is a normal reaction to such a big life change. He related one anxious episode where he broke from his daily routine of grabbing a quick breakfast on the way to work, chowing down and then hustling to make work on time. The line at the cafe this morning was long this day so rather than his usual sit, chew and screw he opted for take out.

With breakfast in hand, he made his way outside noticed the cafe outside seating area and decided to shift his normal routine and dine outside to enjoy the nice summer morning. He told me how wonderful it was to just sit and enjoy his meal outside, to enjoy the day, the weather, life and being at a point in his work life where he realized the job would go on fine without him. In that moment he released the pressures of a working schedule and life’s time commitments passed him by. He was in that moment a Bon Vivant!

A bon vivant is a person who enjoys living “the good life” and has come to enjoy what we often take for granted ….such as the kinds of food we eat or the drink we enjoy so much… these are the things that go along with a life of leisure and luxury. Bon vivant comes from French, in which it’s used as an adjective that literally means “good living.”

Being “Le Bon Vivant” sounds complicated. But in fact it is rather simple….You don’t have to travel to far off places or buy lavish food and pricey wines (although that could be fun) to enjoy “the good life”. We can find it by being present in the moments of our everyday life. Everyday moments are all we really have…right? Like my friend, “the good life” moment he experienced was making everything about that breakfast in that moment the primary focus of his life. Being Le Bon Vivant is and art…
It’s the art of living well.

To all who are now or about to retire I say, …..take an life art lesson from my friend. Learn to enjoy the art of living well. Be Le Bon Vivant!

5 thoughts on “Becoming Le Bon Vivant

  1. Oui, mon ami. Funny your mentioning retirement, taking an art lesson. I’ll be retiring soon after 20+ years of IT/web development work and am looking forward to more time spent on various photography projects but recently took up drawing again after 50+ years. Looking forward to le bon vivant years.

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  2. John, I also bought a new bike as a retirement gift to myself. Just about everyone I know bet that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy life outside the rat race. So far I’ve proven them wrong. Everyday is Saturday except for Saturday which is now Super Saturday (that’s of course because I rarely know what day it actually is)

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  3. I just happened to find this today. It really hits home though so I am glad I did. I think we share a lot of the same views and I like the way you write. I’ll read more in the future. Our columns are quite similar.

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    1. JC, Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I took a quick look at your blog and found that we do share a passion for sharing stories about the wonder of the simple things in life. I’ll make sure to take time later to enjoy your blog. Be well my friend and keep writing. Don

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