My Medicare card came in the mail the other day, and Social Security is set to begin in September. Life as I have known it will cease, the job; career really, and all the attendant responsibilities that have been a part of me for so many years will end and i will officially be retired. I will leave the clinic with more than a bit of anxiety and many mixed emotions. My days in medicine are over, since I have chosen to not renew my license. There's no turning back. It is time to reinvent myself, as a newly ( and happily) retired colleague counseled. His exuberance is encouraging, I am less frightened by the changes that are fast approaching. The fear is of the unknown, leaving the safe and familiar; even though it has become energy draining and stressful. The fear is of losing a large part of my identity, that of a damn good practitioner, and really loving the work I have done. There is anxiety in admitting that I am getting OLD! Medicare, grey hair, reading glasses, a little arthritis, post-menopausal weight gain...who is this person!
Thus, the need to reinvent me, this new me.....with freedom from a job, to go when and where I please, and to be more responsible now for my own life and decisions than for the lives of strangers. I have interests that I have not had time or energy to pursue, I have cleaning and laundry and yard work that have always been such a chore because all of my energy was spent on the job. And, not less than these, a family that has waved goodbye in the morning and not seen me again for two days! And when I came home, all I wanted to do was sleep! We sacrificed much for my career.
So, the possibilities in front of me now are endless. Time. Energy. Freedom.
It's the leap that scares me.