Feeling vulnerable and lost in retirement
Since this is really about you, here's the main question you need to answer before you're ready to answer everyone else's: What do you want from these exchanges?
If you want people to leave you alone, or if your social sensors tell you someone is just asking to be polite, then you've got the right idea with being quippy. Smile, laugh at yourself, reveal nothing.
Or bore them with factoids. "Volunteering, mentoring, consulting ... "
I hope, though, at least with some of the more thoughtful, curious or compassionate people you know, you won't hide yourself behind humor or yawns.
If you want connection, ideas, support, "engrossing" conversation, then you'll need to share your ambivalence. It isn't a sign of weakness; it takes serious guts to admit you don't have it all figured out, especially having been celebrated for your figuring-it-all-out chops. Yours is a brave truth.
And, an interesting one. It's way more interesting than your suggested deflections or even than leading a company, and what it elicits from others might prove interesting to you as well. Maybe even useful: Imagine what bright people who know you well and (I'll assume) share your membership in the achievement ranks might come up with if you dig around in this topic together, without preconceptions or fear.
Anyone petty enough to mock or exploit your vulnerability is not worth the time or bluster necessary to impress them.
You seem to have launched your retirement with the vague idea of starting a Career Lite, which is fine on its face. But it's not working for you. That's also fine -- as long as you respect your emotional findings. Easing your resistance might be how inspiration finds its way in.
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