I’ve been working for a long time. Sometime in the early 1960’s I started having chores around the house, and to collect my miniscule allowance, those chores had to be completed. Then other jobs appeared that could be done for pay. As the oldest child of 4, I started babysitting young. My parents got both the discount rate of 35 cents an hour and first claim on my services. I didn’t particularly enjoy the job, but I did it for family and for others in the neighborhood and around town.
Once in high school, I got more formal work. I worked at the city swimming pools through high school and college summers, taught gymnastics, judged gymnastics, and did various other odd jobs, along with medical volunteering through college. Following graduation came my first “real job”. I spent 2 years as a research assistant in a biochemistry lab, learning both that I could do the work, that I enjoyed it and that this was not the career for me. At the end of those 2 years, I started med school. Four years later, I began my residency in family practice. Finishing residency in 1986, I joined a family practice group, where I spent the next 15 years. I then moved sideways into body oriented psychotherapy, working primarily with trauma, and I’ve been doing that since 2001.
It’s time to be done. I still enjoy my work, and being a part of an individual’s healing journey is a privilege. That’s all true, and I’ve been scheduled more often than not since starting kindergarten in 1960, a few weeks before I turned 5. I’m realizing that I’ve been longing for great stretches of unscheduled time for years. I’m closing my practice at the end of March. My clients were notified of this in the fall, and I didn’t work from Thanksgiving through New Years, a trial run for all of us.
I’m now back working part time, finishing up with my existing clients (no new folks, not fair to them or me). February and March, and that’s it. I’m ready. These past few weeks, I’ve noticed my reluctance to go to work. I really am ready, and as the end of work approaches, I’m perplexed that I didn’t retire sooner. I’m not entirely sure of the reasons behind that, but some of it stems from a sense of obligation, of needing to contribute in the world, to help if I can.
What will I do? My original dream was to travel a lot. Spending months on the road in my van, exploring wherever my interest led. I also hoped to do a lot of international travel. I imagined being away from home roughly 6 months each year. Between the pandemic and BA’s health issues, it’s not going to go that way. Some travel, hopefully, but more solidly home based. As I type this, Ziggy the cat is walking on the keyboard, so that’s another anchor here.
No schedule. That’s the biggest deal. I feel my internal excitement building, which is a fine truth teller.
From there, we’ll see.