While employed in Canada, I was accustomed to receiving a pay cheque every two weeks for work performed. While single, this would mean that every six months I would essentially have a "bonus cheque" that wasn't already divvied up between various bills and obligations. After moving to Japan, I was disappointed to learn that pay cheques are generally provided once a month, generally on or around the 28th. Today, being the last 28th of the year, I received my final cheque for 2018 as well as a summery of how much I earned over the last twelve months, how much of each tax I paid, and how much was deducted for the various insurances that are required by law when working full time. This year, as a result of all the overtime, the various trips, the overnight shifts, and other obligations and agreements, I managed to earn a little more than double what I earned just three years ago, which still works out to about half what people might earn if they were doing my job in North America or Western Europe.
Mind you, I'm not pining to earn more at this time, as I'm quite content with the amount that is brought home every month. There's enough to pay the bills, keep stomachs full, and afford the mortgage. About half of what comes home is saved, which is making it possible to ensure the boy will have a proper amount of money saved up by the time he's ready for university while Reiko and I have enough to seriously consider retirement ... as the two events will likely happen about the same time. It's this convergence of milestones that I've been thinking about a bit more easily lately as it should now be realistically feasible to pay off the mortgage, send the boy to university for upwards of six years with enough money for tuition and board, and retire with enough in the bank to comfortably enjoy a quarter century of not working full time again.
Just three years ago this would have been impossible, and I was fully expecting to work just about every day of my life right up until the end. So long as I can continue to make myself useful — be it for my current employer or someone else — and earn about the same every year, I will not need to worry about retirement. This is a weird revelation. Welcome, but weird.
If only everyone could say the same.