Via Basel: On Retirement and Letting go
On May 1st I officially retired from the private practice of orthopedic surgery after forty years and four months in one location and mostly at one hospital, Little Company of Mary in Evergreen Park, Illinois. Although the date had been planned for a while, it felt surreal as it approached. I am blessed with good health, love my work, and am still on top of my game so to speak. Of course there are the administrative, insurance, regulatory, legal, and other hassles of the business, but the momentum and advice from well meaning family and friends was to continue at least another few years. What are you going to do with all this time on your hands? they were wondering, since apart from vacations a few weeks a year I practically went to work every weekday and a lot of weekends. I think I can count less than a handful of times I missed work because of illness or malaise over the last four decades.
That is when letting go comes into the picture. Of course if I did not enjoy my work and was not passionate about it then letting go would be no problem. The hard part is that the more invested emotionally, mentally, and physically you are in your professional work, the more difficult it is to detach, but this is precisely why it is more rewarding to let go mindfully. You can demonstrate to yourself that you are writing your own story.
There is something exciting about change and entering a new and unfamiliar phase in your life. It provides you with vitality and energy to be creative and productive in disciplines you never encountered before and opens up opportunities you never knew existed. The temptation is to continue with the familiar and relatively comfortable path you have gotten used to over years and even decades. The challenge is the letting go of it all and setting foot on the road less traveled and on the unmarked path. Where it will lead is totally unpredictable, but isn’t that the beauty of it all?
Tune in for the next unwritten phase in my post retirement journey.
Basel Al-Aswad, father of EIL founder Chris Al-Aswad, is a yogi trapped in an Orthopedic Surgeon’s body. His loves in life include reading, hiking, enjoying nature, meditation, and spending time with his large Iraqi family, and now he will have more time for all of that! And for the next adventure.