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Fifth gear | Lisa Scottoline

Anyway, I’ve noticed that my retired friends are busier than I am. They’re hiking, playing golf, riding bikes, and taking yoga. They volunteer like crazy.

I’m not going to retire.

It’s too much work.

Let me explain.

I’m 65, and so are most of my friends.

So I’m legitimately supposed to be thinking about retirement.

But I love my job.

Plus, I spend too much money.

And I don’t want to stop doing either of those things anytime soon.

The problem with retirement is that you have to save enough to last your lifetime.

But you don’t know how long you have.

For these purposes, you find yourself wishing your number was up.

As Mother Mary used to say, “I’m set for life if I die next week.”

Scottolines like dark humor.

I think I’ve saved enough to retire, but then again, if I keep on keeping on, I could run out of money before oxygen.

I’m not sure what would happen then.

What do I do?

Start smoking?

Start skydiving?

Start smoking while I skydive?

Right now I do things to stay healthy and live longer, but maybe I should mend my ways.

Start making really bad choices.

Like I did with Thing One and Thing Two.

Since then I’ve tried to do better, but it could be time to do worse.

Though worse might be impossible.

To return to point, I could go to a party.

Maybe take in an opera or two.

Or have people over.

In other words, live my former life.

That’ll get me killed for sure.

These days the best way to die is to start living.

Anyway, I’ve noticed that my retired friends are busier than I am. They’re hiking, playing golf, riding bikes, and taking yoga. They volunteer like crazy. One leads tourists through the Grand Tetons, and another gives COVID vaccinations.

Meanwhile I buy shoes.

I volunteer to keep American shoe manufacturers in business.


Two of my girlfriends are babysitting for their grandchildren, and they’re in heaven. They love it, and I know I will love being a grandparent too, when my time comes.

But I’m fine if that comes later.

I say this because on my vacation, I spent some time with a friend’s adorable toddler. We made sandcastles on the beach, then we went to the water’s edge and impulsively I lifted her up for the little waves.

And practically threw out my back.

If I’m going to stop working, I need to start working out.

Who knew grandma needed to be shredded?

Whatever happened to Aunt Bea?

I doubt my flabby arms could lift a toddler all day.

It’s like a lifting a bag of dog food, but cute.

I know because I push Little Tony in the stroller around the block for two miles, almost every day. My shoulders hurt all the time. My elbow is killing me. And when he rides with Peach, I can barely stand up the next day.

So I don’t know about retiring.

Especially because all my job requires is that I sit in a chair.

That’s a high bar for inactivity.

Or is it low?

Everything is more work than sitting in a chair.

Even crossing the room to the refrigerator takes effort.

But I persevere.

I don’t know what makes a writer retire, or when. We all spend so much time on our computers anyway, we might as well write a book. And if you write one, you might decide to write another one, and before you know it, you’ve written 33 novels, nine memoirs, and a bunch of columns. In fact, I just started writing historical fiction, so I’m finding another gear.

Luckily, it wasn’t reverse.

Bottom line, I’m not retiring.

I’d have to get up.

Look for Lisa’s best-selling historical novel, “Eternal,” in stores now. Also look for Francesca’s critically acclaimed debut novel, “Ghosts of Harvard,” now in paperback.