Small Talk: Not ready, willing or able to retire just yet

People my age are retiring and I’m not at all pleased about it.

This may be the real downside of working part-time at a public school. All the teachers my age have retired. “Oh,” they said, “I’ve been working for 30 years.” Oh yeah? Well, so have I. I just didn’t have the good sense to do it all in one place.

I do seem to live my life as a lesson to others, so please take note of how I got to this retirement-free zone. First, I was a thoroughly unfocused and very late bloomer. I so envy those youngsters who know just what they want to do by the time they hit their freshman year. But that would have required research and self-discipline, so never mind.

When I finally stumbled onto journalism, at the age of 24, it was an instant love affair. However, I soon discovered that you do not move swiftly up the journalism pay scale by staying at the same paper for 25 years. More importantly, I had already learned that no amount of money (not that they offered) could get me to keep any job I disliked.

Finally moving back here to paradise, I settled into part-time employment with a school district, then later added part-time in a newsroom, because it suited my motherhood needs and, well, I really liked it. And part-time I have remained, on a sort of full-time basis. The motherhood needs are gone, but I just can’t convince myself that I ought to work harder.

I am far, far too fond of both of my part-time positions. Great locations, great people, great product. You don’t find all that in one spot very often. Finding it in two places is extraordinary. The idea of giving either one up to take some repetitive, regular, 8-to-5 gig just horrifies me. Until someone I know retires. Then I sulk.

It’s then I am forced to remember that I have no golden parachute, no stock options and a husband who always worked for himself. All I seem to have accumulated are unpaid bills. That means I will continue to work until they find me face down on my computer keyboard or pinned under a runaway book cart.

Given my low boredom threshold, this is just as well. Never mind that I want to take a six-month cruise to anywhere. And there is the creeping fear that one of these days, someone is going to stroll up and tell me stop drooling or they’ll have to let me go.

And I’ll probably respond with “Aaaah, what do you know, you young whippersnapper?” The witty comebacks are the first thing to go.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who may never get to use that rocking chair on her porch. Contact her at jgillette@coastnewsgroup.com.

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