Coming to Terms with Retirement

I’m in the off phase of phased retirement right now. It reminds me of the consuming question, “What are you going to do when you’re retired.” Coming to terms with retirement is not a one-step thing.

It’s probably easier to think of things I’m not going to do. I can think of at least a couple of books I’m probably not going to finish reading: “The Social Transformation of American Medicine” by Paul Starr and another title I rather not type but the picture of which I’m not squeamish about showing.

I’ve already read a new book by Dave Barry, “Lessons from Lucy,” which is about coming to terms with getting older. And I’m going to reread a book I read years ago, “The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams.

I read the Hitchhiker’s Guide and lost it in one of our many moves. I bought a new hardback copy a few days ago and just restarted it.

I can’t remember when I got The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide. It was published in 1986. Around that time, I had graduated from Iowa State University and could not find employment for about a year. It was a difficult time. Anyone who has been through something like that might understand how hard it could be to retire.

I’m not going to write another work-related book. Editing a multi-author book was too much like herding cats. And as one of my friends put it, once you’ve done that, you ask, “Now what?”

I’m still checking my office email every day. You never know. It’s FOMO, I realize; on the other hand, there are still legitimate work-related things I need to do and some have deadlines.

This makes me think of my YouTube video, “A Day in the Life of a C-L Psychiatrist.” It’s a little tough to come up with something like “A Day in the Life of a Retired C-L Psychiatrist.” Of course, there would be nothing connected with psychiatry in it.

My day in the life after C-L Psychiatry?

I’m reminded of an exchange between Men in Black agents J and K (2nd sequel) after K is deneuralized out of “retirement” to return to the active job of defending this little green planet from aliens.

Agent J: “So what was it like on the outside, not doing this every day?”

Agent K: “It was nice; Sleep late on the weekends, watch the Weather Channel.”

My life is more or less like that, except every day is a weekend day…sort of. And the Weather Channel has gotten way too political for me.

I watch Men in Black reruns. I wait for the garbage truck. How does that guy know exactly where to brake in order to operate the automated side load mechanical arm grabber? I carry my POS camera on my belt. You just never know when an opportunity for great snapshots might arise. I trim and edge the lawn boundaries. I vacuum. I fold the fitted sheets, Hondo. I really don’t cook; I stick frozen pizzas in the oven and make microwave popcorn—not very often, Slick. I exercise and do mindfulness meditation and yoga. I take clothes out of the dryer and put away. I dry the dishes and put away. No, we do not use the dishwasher, pal. It’s about coordination and timing.

I realize that I might sound like Agent K. But I’m more like Agent J—still a rookie around the house and in the yard. This is going to take a while.

Author: James Amos

I'm a retired consult-liaison psychiatrist. I navigated the path in a phased retirement program through the hospital where I was employed. I was fully retired as of June 30, 2020. This blog chronicles my journey.

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