Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

Cape Cod

Sunday musings…2/2/2020

Sunday musing…

1) Palindrome. 02022020. Apparently the first time in 900+ years.

Just thought you should know that.

2) Unwind. Pretty sure this is a synonym for fart.

If not it certainly should be.

3) Super Bowl. Pretty sure it’s today. Right?

Admit it, you’re just like everyone else…it’s really all about the commercials. You don’t GAS about who wins.

4) Lanai. At the moment I am sitting next to Beth x 2, a gentle sea breeze kinda sliding over me as we gaze out over the Gulf in southwest Florida. Frankly we’ve never really gotten the whole “head to Florida” thing. Seems like half of our age group just up and emigrated to the Naples area around January 2nd each year. Since we are not in Mexico (long, boring, self-indulgent story I won’t bore you with) this seemed like the  perfect time to accept Beth and Steve’s invitation to come hang out.

Super glad we did.

After a walk to the oldest continually active lighthouse in America we are slowly sliding toward a leisurely lunch as we prepare to watch commercials. Sanibel Island may also have one of the oldest bike trails in America, our next activity. Seems you can pedal pretty much anywhere here. So it’s off to the farmer’s market just because.

Is this how it is behind the scenes of all those fancy travel posters advertising the island life? I doubt we will ever know for sure. But at least for the moment it’s terrific fun to pretend that we are retired pirates, putting up our feet on tables made of wood from reclaimed shipwrecks, now only doing battle with various sea birds over the day’s catch. The best writing seems to come from some sort of hardship or misfortune.

I’m gonna write anyway. Given the circumstances I’m just gonna have to be ok with a mediocre “musings…” today.

5) Retirement. It’s interesting how often people ask me if I’m going to be retiring soon. Especially those who are aware that I just turned 60, but even patients who’ve just been in my care for a long time (usually right after remarking  on how young I look) are wondering. Lots of docs my age really are starting to bail. Heck, some of my buddies from college are already on their second stab at retiring. The topic comes up so often that I have to admit that it’s made me give it some thought.

What is it that makes some folks rush into retirement/out of the workforce, while others seem to be inexhaustible? What it is that one does for work doesn’t seem to be a factor. We all know doctors who have retired seemingly right after they finish training as well as those of all kinds who are still going strong at 70. Why are guys like Carl Icahn still in the game, striking fear in execs decades younger when they learn that they are in Carl’s bullseye? Ross Perot, or the guy who was forced out at AIG at age 90 or whatever, Sumner Redstone and all the rest. What drives these people to not only work but to work as hard as they did when they were in the process of “making it”? As I sit here with my Better 95% and our friends watching the neighborhood osprey “make” lunch I can’t help but wonder what’s missing from their lives that they don’t perceive the value in my present circumstances. Where are they finding joy?

On the other side of the ledger are people who make just enough, however much that may be for them, and walk away. The hedge fund guy who makes a killing and hangs it up at 30 or 40. Your sister’s best friend who has that one killer idea, turns it into a business, and then sells it all so that she can send the jet to pick up your sister for lunch. This weekend, heck right this minute on the lanai looking at the Gulf, it’s a little easier for me to understand these folks, the ones who literally don’t need to work in order to have what they need and do what they want. Still, I have this little bit of unease kinda gnawing at the back of my brain: what are they really doing all day. Where are they finding purpose?

As I work through this I can’t help coming back around to Lovely Daughter and the concept of “Harmony”. After all, life after we leave the workforce, or while we are leaving the workforce, is still, you know, life. There’s no real balance involved; the false construct of discrete entities put on and taken off the sides of the proverbial scale is as false later in life as it is in the teeth of your working life. Moving in and out of what we can think of as our “working lives” is in need of Harmony as much as any other stage of our lives.

So what’s the answer? Am I going to be retiring soon, as so many people seem to wonder? Well, my little taste of “retirement” as I recovered from my hip surgery in April leads me to believe that my life is much fuller, all my pieces parts in a much better state of Harmony, when I have as much unstructured times of greater leisure as I do times that are tightly structured and outcome directed. There was not enough work and too much free time on my calendar. Both seem to bring me joy, and neither on its own seems to be enough to fill me up. Harmony, for the moment, requires both. Pleasure and purpose.

Speaking of which, I’m about to hop on a bike along with”The Beths” for a little ride. We’re off to see some sights, sample some ice cream from an ancient island standby, and pick up some fresh vegetables at the Farmer’s Market for our Super Bowl dinner. More pleasure than purpose to be truthful, but likely to be a joyful experience nonetheless. Go whoever! Beat the other guy!

Enjoy the commercials.

I’ll see you next week…

Leave a Reply