There is time for recovering.
I’ll be honest, I feel like the first 2 months after retiring from my career in OB/GYN were about reclaiming my life. I got a full night’s sleep. Actually, my nights were still broken up by 1 & 3 year old tears regularly (which I don’t mind so much when I know I don’t have to go to work in the morning). However, I was having much more restful sleep as I was no longer on call or answering my pager/phone calls from the hospital throughout the night. I rediscovered exercise. I haven’t exercised regularly in 8 years. Wow, what a difference going to the gym on a regular basis makes! In summary, step 1 was take better care of myself.
Learning about something completely new.
I want to learn about finances. This is important when you retire at 37. You need to make sure the future is secure for yourself and your family. Although I had reached financial independence at the time of decision to retire, finances will remain on your mind when you retire young since there is so much life ahead. I finally had a chance to delve into finance books, learn about the stock market, how to make passive income. Luckily this was a good time to get interested in the stock market as it has been on a record streak. I don’t presume to think it is my expertise in stock trading that has made it so much fun, but being in the right place at the right time and jumping in. If you are interested, I found the following books helpful: The White Coat Investor: A Doctor’s Guide To Personal Finance And Investing,and The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy.
Pursuing something I always wanted to do.
I am writing! My first article was about the decision to retire at 37. It was published on the website KevinMD.com. I was shocked and impressed by the reach of his website to other physicians. It was wonderful to reconnect with colleagues when contacted after seeing the article. I also enjoyed hearing from internet “strangers” who have been in remarkably similar circumstances and felt like I was telling their story. Since the article appeared to resonate with a lot of physicians, it made me want to write more. There are obviously people going through the same struggles and maybe it helps to let each other know about it. I also feel it is important to know your life can take another path if you need it to and I want to help others realize this. Hence my blog.
If you told me I would be blogging 6 months ago I would have said, “Not a chance”. I am typically a very private person but I’ll admit that sending in my article about leaving medicine was cathartic and liberating. Maybe it’s not such a bad idea to share your life with other people, especially if it may help them. Besides, I am not bound by an employer or hospital anymore so I can pretty much say whatever is on my mind.
This is one of my main passions. I would go anywhere, anytime. I am always up for a trip to somewhere new. So far, in my 6 months of retirement, I have been to the following places:
New Orleans, LA
Las Vegas, NV
Plans in the next few months:
Fernandina Beach, FL
Outer Banks, NC
Trips out of the country are limited for now with 3 young kids. I have to convince my husband that you can travel long distances with little ones first.
Being available and present for my kids.
I haven’t been able to be there for so much in the past. It’s hard for all working parents- I get it. I absolutely understand this is a luxury and am so grateful for this. I wish there could be a better balance so that mothers and fathers wouldn’t feel so conflicted between their jobs and their family life. So, since I have this opportunity I am excited to relish it. I will be there now for all field trips, doctor’s appointments, teacher conferences and soccer games. All things I had to miss in the past. I know kids are resilient and they know their parents love them when they are working but it’s hard on the parents sometimes more so than the kids. We want to be there for those things. So for now, I am doing things like writing and investing and exploring new adventures that are flexible so that I can make my own schedule with my own priorities first. I have been missing this control over my own life so much over the years.
Planning next steps.
Retirees like to travel but when you have young kids you need to get creative. In the next few years I want to start coordinating summer long trips to other countries with my family. I don’t want to uproot them from their schedules/school life, so I plan to use the summers to experience other cultures and expose them to different ways of life. I want my children to know more than the comfortable lifestyle in America that they are privileged to experience currently. We are such a small piece of this world and I want them to understand that. There are things bigger than ourselves.
Lastly, I want to learn how to cook!
Going straight from college to medical school, to residency, to full time employment as a physician left no time for learning to cook for myself or family (also no time to actually make a meal even if I knew how). I currently know how to make a pizza using premade pizza shells or “breakfast for dinner” which includes pancakes and eggs. Yes, sad I know. So, my goal is to learn how to make one thing every 3 weeks. I need to start small- cooking is overwhelming to me!
Thoughts, comments? Suggestions? Are you retired or do you have plans for what to do if you retire early from medicine? I would love to hear from you.