My name is Grant Hutchison. For 35 years I worked as a hospital doctor. Now I don’t.
Medicine is such a busy and rewarding job that doctors are notorious for “struggling” with retirement. And, apparently, I’m doing it all wrong. Retiring in the spring is considered to be ideal, offering lots of opportunities to get out of the house; I retired in the autumn, just as the weather turned foul and the nights started to draw in. Spending your last few months working a reduced number of hours is supposed to help with the adaptation process; I worked full time until the day I walked out of the hospital for the last time. And everyone is supposed to have some sort of plan drawn up, so as to fill the yawning chasm of uncommitted time with new activities; whereas I had figured I would probably just carry on doing what I’d already been doing in my spare time, except more of it.
This last one seemed to really worry friends and colleagues. “You’ve nothing planned?” they would exclaim, frowning solicitously. In fact, they did this exclamation and frown thing a lot.
And so I became vaguely embarrassed and slightly uneasy, because I wasn’t able to offer up a schedule involving an Open University degree, a new language, weekly voluntary work and a saxophone.
Eventually I sat down and drew a little diagram of all the stuff that fills my head and my time when I’m not engaged with friends and family, food and shelter. Tidied up a bit, it looked like this:
Removing WORK made it look like this:
The network of thoughts and activities seemed to be negligibly disrupted. This cheered me up.
This blog is about how that network of stuff is actually working out for me. You’ll find the labels from my diagram cropping up as items on the blog menu. As time goes by, I’m guessing that some of those items will generate more activity than others. I have no idea which will flourish and which will fade, but I hope that you find something of interest in there.
Note: Click here for an update on how the first year of retirement has gone.