This is a classic story of wish-fulfillment as Rip's life is transformed for the better without any effort on his part. His twenty-year magic sleep has, overall, a most agreeable effect: he returns to find that he is now rid of the main burden of his life, his wife. The nation has gained independence in that time, and his former sleepy little village is now a more bustling, active place; but the most important thing from his point of view is that Dame Van Winkle is no longer around to harass him.
Rip, in fact, was no politician; the changes of states and empires made but little impression on him; but there was one species of despotism under which he had long groaned, and that was-petticoat government. Happily that was at an end; he had got his neck out of the yoke of matrimony...
Married life for Rip, then, was a sore trial, but now he has been freed from the 'despotism,' or tyranny of his wife. The great political change matters very little to him in comparison. He slots back into the life of the village quite quickly and is honoured as a relic of a bygone age. Also, as he is now old, he is no longer expected to do any work. This is just the kind of life he enjoys, idling and gossiping. He also has his daughter to look after him. He has no more troubles; he is content.