Spring is turning to summer. The sun stays longer in the sky. We, up here in the colder states, are freer to roam outside and become active. The pollen fills our sinuses and causes water to run from our eyes.
A year ago I set the date of the Summer Solstice to mostly end my practice of psychotherapy. I have been attempting, in various ways, to help people deal with their lives and make helpful changes for over forty years.
Now it is my turn to try to make some significant changes. This is proving to be an interesting experience. To me it is a very mild form of what happened to Jill Bolte Taylor, the neurologist who realized she was having a stroke. She had studied the brain for years, and now she was experiencing this phenomenon phenomenologically. You can Google her TED talk.
What I am going through is much more mundane. It happens every day; more frequently now as the population ages. What is good is that I have chosen to do this. I have not been laid off or fired, or told not to practice because I reached the point where I couldn't remember any one's name.
Still, for me the time is filled with ambivalence, with both excitement and disappointment, with anticipation of freedom, but also the loss of direction that comes with the breaking of habits and routines.
My life has already changed in ways I didn't anticipate. My wife and I have four new people in our lives ( well, three and half, it will be four in September). This was something we knew would be coming but the reality is that, if we wish, these new beings could take up a great deal of time. And we do wish, mostly.
There are other things I really want to do. Some of them are inexplicable to other people who think of retirement as a play time. In my mind this could be a time to do the things that I was unable to do because my work took up so much time and effort.
These are things that for me are fascinating, but not necessarily easy. No one is expecting anything from me, so I will have to do it on my own. It is challenging, and kind of makes me anxious. It's funny how I seem to avoid doing the things that I say I really want to do.
This is so much like so many of the patients I have seen over the last forty years. It is the kind of thing I want to be studying.