DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am at the age that a great many people choose to retire. Due to a series of financial setbacks and, sadly, my own lack of fiscal responsibility, I am not in a position where I may retire now or in the near future. I blame no one but myself and am trying to right the ship, even at a late date.
This issue is understandably something I do not wish to share with people. How do I best respond when family and friends make inquiries and statements as to “Aren’t you thinking of retirement”? I think about it all the time; it is just not something that I am able to do now.
GENTLE READER: What you are seeking is a change of subject. How hard you will have to work to get one will depend on how intent your questioner is on getting an answer.
A casual remark can be answered with a breezy, “Sometimes I do.” A follow-up can be parried with, “Right now, I’m enjoying my life as it is.” (This should be accompanied by a frown that, while it may contradict your statement, should also discourage further probing.)
As a last resort, you will need to give a firm, “I’m not ready to yet.” The initial parries should be followed by changes of subject, but the last response will require a moment of silence to let your seriousness sink in. Miss Manners strongly urges you not to mount a full counterattack in the form of a challenging, “Why? Do I look old enough to retire?”