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3 Weeks Into My Pseudo-Retirement

Recap of My 1st Attempt At Retirement

On 7/18 I decided I would retire and on 7/31 I nixed the idea because I wasn’t ready yet, the idea left a bad taste in my mouth. The last urgent care shift I actually worked was over 3 weeks ago and I want to reflect on this time since.

Emotionally it’s been a roller coaster, financially it’s been fine, physically it’s been tougher than I thought to adjust to a workout and diet schedule. It’s easy to find oneself with too much free time which can involve too many trips to the fridge. I’ve also been drinking more wine than I’m used to every night.

Emotionally I’m still trying to dissociate from Dr. Mo the full-time urgent care doctor, the medical director and the guy who nurses and other providers depend on. I’m trying to find a new identity either outside of medicine or loosely related to medicine.

Should I just stick to my guns and embrace full retirement? Should I go back to part-time or per diem and split the difference?

Financially I have been spending a ton of money (relatively speaking) with my partner. We have been eating out, buying fancy groceries for preparing meals together, taking exercise classes together, buying stuff for the apartment and socializing with friends. And though she is paying for most of this it’s an expense nevertheless. My partner has a more lavish routine than my pauper ass so she is used to living a more traditional American lifestyle and she enjoys me partaking in it which means she has been paying for damn near everything so far.

I haven’t had to buy my own health insurance yet. I haven’t had to pay for rent or for my share of internet or groceries. With only $100k in taxable investments paying dividends somewhere in the 2.2% range annually I could generate a passive income of  only $183/mo, not even enough to cover my Portland condo which is still sitting empty.

Physically I have tried to stick to an exercise routine which has been successful with a mix of biking, bouldering and racquetball. But I’m eating out more than usual. With the disappearance of my job I am finding myself wanting to fill this void with something and it happens to be food. I need to work on a bit more structure with my days which I don’t anticipate will be too hard, just takes time.

I have been reading more than I normally would which is such a pleasure. I made it down to the local library for the first time a few days ago, a massive building with mostly tables and chairs and computers and maybe 7 shelves worth of non-fiction books, sort of sad.

My GF and I have been brainstorming on business ideas which is exactly what I wanted to do. I have talked about wanting to start a business again after I sold my auto mechanic shop. We are talking about a few ideas but we are still in the planning stages. To make things a bit more complicated we are thinking of moving from NorCal down to SoCal for various reasons.

Being away from the urgent care has been awesome, very relaxing and liberating. When I open my work email I feel really disconnected from whatever is going on down there, in a good way. On the other hand, reading my medical journal articles makes me scared because I’m afraid I’m forgetting my medicine. 

I thought I would get moments of panic from not working and I haven’t so far. I think it’s because I still have my medical licenses and can pick up shifts anytime I start jonesing. It’s been a bit of an internal battle but I feel that the longer I stay away from the urgent care physically the more clear my mind operates. 

What I Did Right

I decided to walk away and tell my boss the bad news once I realized that I had enough money to consider myself financially independent; this was the right move because I feel like otherwise I would have never broken free.

I brainstormed about what I would do once I could walk away from medicine. I came up with some good business ideas, I identified the skills I needed to acquire and started reading up on that stuff (marketing, selling, interpersonal skills, managing and networking). Not only am I learning great business skills but I feel like I’m growing as a human being.

What I Didn’t Do So Well

I waited until I was burnt out before dropping down to part-time. I could have done a much more graceful transition by going down to part-time, starting something on the side and then walking away once I was satisfied with the direction of my project.

I made too many changes all at once. I dropped down to part-time, then decided to quit all together, then decided to move to NorCal with the girlfriend and decided to find an all-new career instead of working on the projects I had already started.

Do I Still Want To Retire?

I’ve been giving this a lot of thought. I realize that my definition of retirement is different from that of others, not so much exiting gainful employment but walking away from a job, a regimented work-schedule needed to earn income to support my lifestyle.

I still want to achieve financial independence though I am now doubting whether true financial independence is possible. Perhaps it would be more financial stability with some built-in layers of protection.

Would I still like to have the luxury to work when I want, how I want without actually needing to work? Absolutely, that’s actually the most attractive thing to me.

Sure, let’s say I got to be the top mechanic at a really awesome muscle car shop where I felt good working on cars and bringing smiles to customers whom I was doing right by… I could see myself enjoying the shit out of that. Then again, even something you absolutely love can become a chore if you have to do it every single day – or perhaps I haven’t found that one thing that I’m passionate about.

In summary, I want the freedom to spend my time the way I want to. I want to still be productive and belong to a community.

What’s Gonna Happen The Next Few Months

I anticipate that I will start picking up some urgent care shifts, not so much for the $ but so that I can feel like I still have a floor of safety.

I have been browsing the job-wanted ads online, looking for anything that might interest me. Reading the job descriptions gives me a good sense of what I would/wouldn’t be willing to do. There is one website that I am going to write for, just to expand on my writing skills.

I will continue writing and I will continue working on these business plans with my lady. Once we figure out where we’re gonna end up I will jump on a business opportunity that’s the right fit.

I will also rent out my condo in Portland once I figure out a few details. That should be a source of income and a good learning experience. I’ll be writing more about how to become a landlord.

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