Today is the first day of my retirement from clinical practice after 30 years of working with individuals, couples, and families in therapy. What a career it has been, and how grateful I am for so many aspects of it! Last night, while reminiscing over supper, Peter and I chuckled over the fact that way back all those years ago he’d hoped that I would become a computer programmer, and really tried to push me in that direction. But there was just no way; I wasn’t interested at all.
The last several days of work weren’t easy. I experienced lots mixed feelings, mostly sadness, as the people I’d been working with recently, came in one hour after another, and we processed our goodbyes. Over the last month, as the final days of the 30 years drew closer, I became increasingly aware of what a privilege it has been to enter the inner sanctum of the private lives of so many. I’d love to be able to write an exquisitely-articulated blog, right now, about the whole thing, but that ain’t gonna happen.
I’m finishing up preparations of two presentations for next Saturday’s Atlanta Writers Conference, a friend is having me over for a celebratory lunch today, Peter and I plan to do some packing for our May 15th move to St. Simons Island, we have two grandchildren with big events in two separate towns this weekend – one a First Communion and the other, Confirmation, and I’ve got some preliminary readings to catch up on for the United Kingdom Child Sexual Abuse Peoples Tribunal (www.ukcsapt.org.uk).
As a neophyte in the profession of marriage and family therapy, I’d never expected to retire at age 66. I thought I’d work as a therapist for as long as I’d live – that I’d only get wiser with age. But ha! I found out that there’s so much more that comes with age, like the awareness that it really is time to close one chapter and to begin another.
Speaking of chapters, last evening Peter took this picture of me out on our front porch. It was a perfectly beautiful Spring-in-Atlanta evening, and I’m holding the first novel I plan to read during my retirement: “O, You Pretty Things!” by Shanna Mahin. Shanna and I met years ago at a non-fiction writers conference at Goucher College in Maryland. We were in Kristen Iversen’s memoir class, and I can tell you that Shanna was, by far, the best writer in the class, so I’m expecting her novel to be an excellent read. I can also tell you that Kristen was a wonderful instructor and a delightful person. She has since gone on to write, to some acclaim, her memoir, Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats.
Today I open the next chapter of my life. I certainly intend to do more writing in my retirement, and I’m curious and excited about working on the judges panel of the United Kingdom Child Sexual Abuse Peoples’ Tribunal. I plan to make new friends and to get together with old friends as much as possible; to enjoy those nine precious grandchildren of ours and lots of other family members – especially the guy I live with! Today, May 1, 2015 is the first day of the rest