I’m reading a book titled The Second Mountain, by New York Times columnist David Brooks. I’m intrigued by his concept of a “second mountain” in our lives. Brooks asserts that climbing our first mountain means completing our education, starting a career and becoming financially independent. 

He was certainly successful in scaling his first mountain. As a journalist, he rose to the top of his profession. He married and started a family. But he stumbled into a valley. His professional achievements didn’t satisfy him. His 27-year marriage fell apart and he lost close friendships due to the course of his career path.

Many of us found ourselves stuck in valleys after the Great Recession. We were forced to climb our first mountain all over again. We hustled to restore our finances. We had to re-invent ourselves and start new careers. It’s exhausting and felt like we were on an endless treadmill. 

One-third of older Americans are planning to work the rest of their lives, at least part-time. Twenty percent of Americans over 65 are still in the workforce. Why? They fear they won’t have enough money to retire. They need health insurance. Those are valid concerns, but personally I’m sick of working. 

My wife and I have had jobs since we were 15. That’s not unusual but enough is enough. I got sick of detective work 20 years ago but couldn’t walk away from the money. Now I’ve made a decision. When my detective license expires next spring, I’m not renewing it. I’ve had a good run but after 56 years of E.F. Rice Co., it’s time to call it a day.

John Rice is a columnist/private detective, who has seen his business and family thrive in Forest Park. He thoroughly enjoys life in the village and still gets a thrill smelling Red Hots, watching softball and strolling through cemeteries. Jrice1038@aol.com