Statues Flanking Gate


Tracey Columns

Dear Tracey,

I retired two years ago and it has’t been easy. Honestly, it’s been terrible. Who knew someone could fail at retirement?

I have my clubs and volunteer activities. It’s not like I just sit around doing nothing but no matter what I try, nothing fills the void left by my old job. I felt useful there and valued. And, you don’t have to tell me it was a mistake to have a social life that revolved around work but I did, always have and now I miss all of those people. We get together but I am so out of the loop. I don’t fit in.

I took my old supervisor to lunch last week and asked her if there was any way for her to hire me back half time? She was kind of shocked I think, asked me all kinds of questions about how happy I thought I would be. She was right to ask. I told her I truly thought I was ready to be retired but I’ve learned it isn’t for me just yet. I told her that at 60 I still have plenty of working years left in me.

She called this morning and offered me a 15-20 hour a week position, saying they would all “love” to have me back! It was music to my ears. Her only requirement was that I needed to check with the office that handles my pension to see how this will work. I already had and yes, we can make it work just fine.

I guess you can tell I am ready to be back there. But what do I tell all of my co-workers? I’m embarrassed. They made such a big deal of my retirement and I made such a big deal about being ready to retire. I haven’t told them how I was feeling these last two years. I know they will be as surprised as my supervisor was.

Happy to work

Dear Reader,

Thank you for your email and question. It appears you have come up with a good solution for what’s been bothering you.

Like many, you have discovered that you aren’t ready to be retired. There’s absolutely no failure in this! Believe me, I hear from plenty of people in their sixties who feel just as you do. They tried it and didn’t like it either.

I think it’s great that you took the retirement step, thoroughly explored it and ultimately figured out you weren’t ready for this chapter. I consider your last two years valuable life experience that can serve you well.

I suppose you are embarrassed to face your co-workers because you feel you have made a mistake? Again, I just don’t see it this way. Simply explain that for all of your planning and different activities, you discovered that you are too young (!) to retire. If you feel it’s necessary, tell them you’re as surprised by this turn of events as they are. Stress that you feel good about what you’ve learned from the last two years. (You now understand so many facets of retirement, which will be quite helpful the next time you face this decision.) Most of all, you’re happy to be back at a job you love with people you like.

You might also point out that now you have the best of two worlds, a part-time position you love, working with great people, plus the freedom to continue doing many of the things you also find very satisfying.

Finally, please remember that if someone dares to judge you, #1) He/she hasn’t had your experience, and #2) He/she needs to get a life!

(Click here to return to The Second Half online archives)