For Whom the Bell Tolls?

The Bell Tower, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN -
The Bell Tower, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN –


By Mary Anna Violi | @Mary Anna Violi

This past July a weighty packet arrived.  Peering at the return address, it revealed my university’s logo from Human Resources [HR].  Dire thoughts raced through my mind:  Could it be I was losing my job?  Would it disclose abruptly reduced health benefits?  Had a mailing error occurred?  I plucked up my courage and with trepidation, opened the oversized envelope.

I was being offered an “early retirement incentive” package.

As I waded through the 30-odd pages of the “incentive”, I harkened back to the feeling I had when an autumn day’s mail congratulated me and welcomed me to AARP.  I panicked; “I’m not old enough,” I cried.  Apparently AARP thought otherwise. A blue funk came over me.  My world tilted.  Each time that outfit sends me correspondence; I shred it without reading it.  Frankly, I don’t give two hoots and a holler about some celebrity on the cover rhapsodizing about how grand 50/60/70+ is, pontificating about how these are the best years.  I assume they are all sitting pretty in the Cat Bird seat with their millions and their air-brushed faces [Botoxed, lifted, and stretched to the max].  For those of us living in the real world, early retirement is not a viable option.

Nevertheless, I sent my financial advisor the early retirement incentive paraphernalia to review.  He phoned me and said, “No!”  He asked me if I wanted to retire early, if I was miserable in my work, if there existed a medical need.  “No,” I responded.  With the sluggish economy, my daughter in law school, and the satisfaction I still derive [on most days] from my work, he advised against grabbing the offer.  I felt relieved.  To quote Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener”, I would prefer not to.

Ciao for now.


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