Pretty soon there’s going to be a For Sale sign out in our front yard again. It doesn’t mean I’m off on another tangent, looking for a new job. It just means that my wife and I are aware of something new on the horizon–my eventual retirement. She says I’ll never be able to retire. At the close of most days on the Psychiatry consultation service, I’m pretty sure she’s wrong. I know I’m closing in on the time when I’ll really have to think of something else to do. In the next several years, I’ll either have to recertify under the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) with the required Performance in Practice (PIP) module feedback documentation and actions plans–or hang up my white coat. Selling the house means scaling down the mortgage, saving as much money as we can so that it doesn’t run out before we die.
Given the difficulties I foresee with implementing the MOC in both the short and long-term, I’m pretty sure I’ll not only choose retirement…I’ll have no other choice. As I look back at my career, I wince at some of my choices back in the day, but more often I smile. It isn’t the tangible rewards or the dismal failures that make a career. It’s the people with whom I’ve had the good fortune to work. I’ve had the good fortune to teach a good many of the new doctors who will be the leaders of the next generation. I’ll just have to learn how to watch from the sidelines.
So the For Sale sign in the yard presages the time when I’ll sit back and marvel at the smart, new, connected health professionals who must decide the direction medicine, surgery, and psychiatry will go. They’re already steering us, probably in the right path.