What’s Up, Doc?

Dr. Jim and his new supervisor, Petunia the cat.

I have been retired for one year.  It has afforded me a time for reflection, but required me to explore a new identity.

As a physician, patients came to me with a problem, and I would solve it with medicines or surgery.  Now, no one is knocking at the door.  One piece of advice given to me was, “Don’t do anything for six to twelve months to avoid getting on a new treadmill.  After that, you can choose where to direct your efforts.” It’s easy to do nothing.  In contrast, entrepreneurs initiate projects.  They may succeed or fail.  Then they can start a new venture.  I have had to activate that miniscule genetic aspect of my DNA.

How’s retirement?  Playing a lot of golf? Traveling a lot? What are you doing?  These are questions asked of me over and over during the last year.  The answers demanded thoughtfulness and honesty.

Golf and travel are fun, but have their limits.  When they are available full time, they lose some of their appeal and benefit as a counterpoint to work.

Petunia the cat edits first draft of “Road Trip.”

My answer to what are you doing was, “I’m writing a book.”  This was a journey into unfamiliar territory and challenged me in several ways.  It required a self-start and a willingness to fail, especially during the first draft.  Failing is not acceptable to a physician so I have had to adjust and accept that I would not be perfect on the first go.  It required being vulnerable, another enigma for a healer, a fixer of problems.

The craft can be frustrating, exhilarating, exhausting, energizing and fun.  Its guidelines are; write what you know and write every day.  That demanded commitment. 

Its counterpoint is procrastination.  I’m really good at that.

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