It has been only about 3 weeks since I retired and—I am not living the dream yet. I’ve always been a worrywart and I find that I’m worrying about a lot of things: money, things to do, the future. If you just heard me say that I’m loving retirement, then you’d probably guess I’m not telling you the truth.
That was the point of starting the blog in the first place, to tell the truth about what the journey to retirement and finally getting there is really like for me.
My guess is that I’m in the early stages and the angst will probably pass. On the other hand, I have more than once considered going back to work. I could talk myself into it pretty easily. On the other hand, the pandemic and other upheavals have changed the environment where I used to work as a general hospital psychiatric consultant.
It’s not the same world. And I’m evolving too. Right now, I feel lost. It occurs to me this is a lot like homesickness.
Ironically, that’s pretty much how I felt when my wife and I first moved to Iowa City over 30 years ago so I could start medical school. Even then, I felt out of place. I’d been the proverbial older student all through undergraduate years and never felt like I quite fit in.
I nearly quit medical school in the second year. It was a struggle to stick it out. I wanted to return to what I had been so comfortable doing in the past. I worked for a consulting engineer firm as a survey crew tech and drafter. I got really comfortable in the culture, which is why I started off majoring in engineering. I let go of that pretty quickly. I got homesick. But I didn’t go back.
I came down with homesickness a couple more times after I started working as a psychiatric consultant in an academic center. Twice I left for private practice because I thought I would like working in “the real world” of medicine. I paid dearly for that. At those times, I went back home.
This anxiety, tension, and longing for the familiar now that I’m retired is a lot like homesickness. I guess part of the cure is time.