Phil Dives into Retirement (final article)
A series of articles about transitioning from a very structured professional life
By Phil McCavity
I’m at the cottage enjoying my second cup of coffee on this sunny, cool morning. My wife and I are chatting about this and that. Our nine-month-old lab is sprawled on the floor wondering which shoe to chew on next. I hear my cell phone indicating incoming email and open it up. There it is. Mariella asks, very gracefully, if I have forgotten to submit this article.
Oops. Is retirement turning my brain to mush?
A new kind of morning
It has now been a little over seven months since I sold my practice and semi-retired, and about seven weeks since I fully retired. I have not missed any aspect of work for even a nanosecond. Granted, I have been busy, but I enjoy and need busyness. We just finished having an addition built onto our old, stone farmhouse, and I will be doing some of the inside finishing work. We got our new dog a couple of days after my last day of work, and I have what I call ‘projects’ to do at home, as well as at the cottage. Everybody who knows me knows about my projects; I am constantly planning new ones. My golf game is finally getting some attention. And I play in a pipe band, so there is a need to practise on some sort of regular basis.
One goal for me in retirement is to become more fit. I owe it to myself. Thirty-eight years of practising dentistry is hard on backs, necks and shoulders, and not exactly something to develop cardiovascular fitness. I am running or cycling at least four days a week most weeks, and my level of fitness is likely better than it has ever been. As I live in the country, my runs and bike rides are along quiet rural roads, usually early in the morning. I get to watch the world wake up, the real world, not the city world. Cattle graze along the fence lines and I say good morning to them as I go by. Deer eye me warily, even though they are 200 yards away. A pileated woodpecker flies low, right in front of me, in that undulating way. Snapping turtles lay their eggs along the shoulder of the road. Birds sing. At this time of day, I used to be getting ready for work.
Better than very good
I recently had a visit with my parents, who live five hours away. Dad is 91, Mom is 86. They live in a nice seniors’ residence. Dad still drives. They both enjoy unusually good health for their ages, but there are aches and pains and health issues consistent with persons of their vintage. I heard more grumbling and complaining than I thought I ought to and reminded them that life is, despite everything, very good. After some hesitation, they agreed.
Life is much better than very good. Now I have the time and ability to enjoy it.