I am 58 and watching many colleagues "retire" and leave California and other docs save and invest in pursuit of FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early).
I have 3 teenagers. My 16 year old twins just got their driver's licenses and my 18 year old son is graduating high school. I have officially entered the most expensive phase of parenting – cars, technology, college and kids who live like adults.
I began my medical career with the onslaught of apocalyptic acronyms: PPOs, HMOs, MCOs, ACOs that have degenerated into health care systems, physician employment, and rampant burnout fueled by the ominous tipping of the scale between pleasure and pain of healing the sick.
When my wife got Covid and my daughter got the flu, we quarantined them as I slept in another room and continued my dedication to my work and patients without any hiccup in my weekly routine.
Until I noticed some nasal congestion and clear nasal drainage. Dutifully I tested myself and for the first time since the pandemic hit 2 years ago, my test was Covid-positive.
Immediately, I was conflicted between my obligation to my 100 clinic patients and 7 surgeries scheduled the following week versus my responsibility not to trigger a super spreader event at my office or infect a high risk patient. So I sought more reasonable outside advice.
Both our office Covid Commander and our community Infectious Disease specialist told me I was sidelined for the week. I cleared my week to avoid any risk to patients or our friends. My 107 patients were herded into the following 2 weeks of capacity production. I canceled my tennis games, our dinner plans and the next weekend away at Paso Robles wineries with friends.
I never got any sicker. A slight cold of mild nasal congestion and runny nose. Something for the past 4 decades, I would never have allowed to change my routine or think twice about. I would have seen patients with a mask, operated and even played tennis.
But not this time.
Not during Covid.
So… I slept more.
I caught up on filing bills and statements.
I read all the emails in my inbox that I never had time for.
I wrote more posts for BOOMM.
I caught up with friends on the phone I don't have enough time to connect with.
I kept my scheduled zoom calls with my mastermind groups, marketing team and biller.
And after 2 days… I was bored!
I helped my daughter with an essay.
I talked to my son about jobs for the summer and his new girlfriend.
I posted in Facebook a little more.
I watched Netflix.
But I needed to be productive.
I needed more people in my life.
I realized I am too young, too motivated and too energetic to not pursue more goals, adventures and life experiences.
I will never stop pursuing financial freedom.
I will not limit my future to medicine.
But I am not ready to retire from this exciting blessed adventure we call life.
This I know for sure.
To borrow a brilliant phrase from Oprah.
What would you do with a week of quarantine?
Are you ready to retire?
What would you do if you no longer needed to work?
We would love to hear from you.