Now, I’m not working. I have closed the practice, had the party, climbed the mountain, took care of the grandchildren, and now we have settled in down at the beach house. We have been coming down here on this week of July 4th, not working this whole week, for many years now. Some of the family come when they can – we have a daughter and granddaughter here now-- and friends drop by, and I watch fireworks. None of that is new.
What is new is that we are not going home, and we know that. So it doesn’t feel as if we have to take three days to de-stress, and then two days to gear back up again. I am not thinking about how many people I will have to see and what shape they are in while I am gone, at least not in the way I did while I was actively seeing everyone. I still wonder about many people. I still get messages from several, which is nice, although a bit confusing.
But now this not working thing seems very real, and basically, it is very liberating. If you look back on this blog two years ago (7/26/12), you will see that I was taking a vacation and that I was tired. It was clear then that the profession was falling apart, and that it would be difficult for me to continue to work in the manner that I had been.
Now, I don’t have to care. I do care, but it isn’t about me.
It is very early for me in this new phase. I have worked with so many people who have had to make changes in their lives; for most of them it was not their choice. I have seen how difficult changes can be, even if they seem to be what people want. For me, my underlying feeling is one of freedom, relief, and energy. But on top of that is a feeling of being disoriented, unstructured, and a bit of anxiety.
The anxiety is that I still feel healthy, strong, and capable. I should be doing something. I believe that I will be doing something, and I think I know what it is. But the actual goal is still kind of vague, and the methodology is a complete mystery.
So we were talking tonight with some friends. They asked how I was doing being retired. I said I wasn’t retired, I just closed my practice. So, they asked, are you still working? I said no, I’m not working now.
My wife chimed in and said, “He’s just unemployed.”
So that’s what I am during this time of transition. I’m unemployed. But I know that if I’m offered a job, I won’t take it. I have to make my own.
As I used to say at the end of so many of my patient’s notes, after a session in which someone thought he was ready to do all the right things: “we’ll see.”