“Why don’t you just say it, you’re retired,” a male friend said after my layoff that produced an unemployment check and a Cobra health insured life.
“I’m not retired,” I insisted. “I’m in transition.”
At lunch with a working friend from the good old days of full employment and a certain path I shared the nascent beginning of my blog.
“I’m writing about women in transition.”
“You’re always in transition,” my male lunch partner said.
He was right. Whether in a job or not, I have always felt in transition. I prefer to think this makes me an expert on the topic rather than someone who always looks for the next patch of greener grass.
When I told my sister about the potential job offer she asked, “Aren’t you enjoying your semi-retirement state?”
Semi-retirement? Is that what my life looked like to the outside? It didn’t’ feel like that inside.
The five years that I didn’t report to an office, I still worked. Not at a corporate office doing the same thing. But I worked. From a home office or at a borrowed desk. At various things. Consulting projects. Committees. Content development. And mostly teaching.
Two hundred students–give or take a few–have sat in my classes and been mentored over coffee and during office hours. Teaching has been the hardest work I’ve ever done. By myself. In front of a room of young adults hoping to advance their careers with the material they are learning in my class. Finding new ways to fill the hours, to bring the principles and theories alive. A three-hour, one-woman show running for 10 weeks straight. Each week required a new script and the ability to improvise.
“I never want to retire,” I tell Husband, who is on the brink of retirement. Teetering so close to being able to nap at will on any one of our couches. To putter in any number of puttering spaces in the house, garage, or outside. To being able to do something else as soon as he discovers or defines else. To being in transition.
Retiring sounds old. And I reject being old, while fully acknowledging being older. So I’m rejecting retirement and accepting rehiring into a new role in a familiar field. Or as I prefer to look at it, I’m just entering one more transitional phase in my life of transition.