Retirement Phase II: A New Relationship with Time

Retirement Phase II: A New Relationship with Time

Finding good fortune in the company of my next novel, my husband, our dog Django and Proust

As most of you know, I closed my private practice office in July 2017. But for the few remaining patients whom I thought might benefit from another year with me, and who did not wish to have to see another therapist, we continued by phone. As of December 2018, I will be ending these most precious relationships as well.

For those of you who have had the experience of long-term treatment, or those of you who do long-term treatment as therapists yourselves, perhaps you can appreciate what this might mean to me. If only I had owned a shop where I might just close the doors and that would be that. We can become attached to shops or even their keepers, but this sort of relationship cannot be equated to the ones I am speaking about here. The only other person in this world I can say that I know as well as I know my patients is my husband. The intimacy that is established in a good and successful treatment is not to be found anywhere else.

Taking a hard look at Father Time

So why am I ending these relationships that could conceivably go on until one of us is no more? I asked myself this question many times before arriving at this decision. After all, my mind is still working fairly well, and I am in reasonably good physical health. And therein lies the rub.

As someone who has worked from the age of 16, and as someone who hopes to still accomplish more, the answer is a hard look at Father Time. Time keeps right on moving, whether I do or not. I expect my next novel to be longer than my first, and I still hope to be able to write the third in the series of Turkey novels. Time is also a factor in simply enjoying the company of my husband and our Australian Cattle Dog, Django, and family and friends. Nothing and no one lasts forever.

There are days I feel like the elderly woman in the insurance advertisement of “a life well planned,” even though I have to admit that most of it, and even the best parts of it, were not planned at all. I must acknowledge my good fortune. But I cannot say that it was good fortune alone.

A time to come, a time to go

A very dear friend of mine said to me at lunch one day, as we discussed my retirement, “There is a time to come and a time to go.” And when I think about it, that is something I’ve always known, even if it took me time to accomplish either the coming or the going. This is often difficult, and it can be easier to stay where we are just at the thought of how disruptive change can be.

My ambitious and beloved book club is now wading our way through Proust’s six volumes of In Search of Lost Time. Call me crazy if you like, but it is incredibly enjoyable once a reading rhythm is established. I often find myself laughing out loud. How the French Society spent its time in the early 20th century, combined with Proust’s facility of language and his understanding of human nature, is time well spent. But we can all agree here that one must have time in order to do this.

Always I thought that I would drop dead in my chair during a therapy session, and that might have been a good way to go, except for the unfortunate patient. Luckily, I have always been aware of time. It was the one thing that made it possible for me to retire from karate when arthritis threatened to put me in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. There is definitely more to life than I have experienced, and I know that I do not have forever. And so, I embark on what I like to refer to as the final quarter. May it be the best one yet!

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