My New Life

We all have 168 hours a week to spend.

For some time now, I have been working well over 60 hours a week and spending 15 hours in the car traveling the more than 200 miles between my two homes and clinics.

As of this July, the month of my 66th birthday, I am staking out a new life for myself. I’ll be spending 30 hours a week in my Van Buren clinic, only 3 hours commuting, 30 on horse related things and 30 on my writing. Add the 63 hours I figure I need just to survive, and I will still have 12 hours to do something else. I admit some of that time, probably 5 hours a week on average, will be remote chart work, which can be done while looking out at the horse pasture. That still leaves an hour a day on average to do something new.

I’m calling this a semiretirement although it is really just slowing down to a more normal pace.

That means I’m giving up the medical directorship and work in my other clinic. But it also means I’ll be a more well balanced human being, I hope, as I consolidate my life in northern Maine, in a Swedish looking little red farmhouse not far from the village of New Sweden.

Aerial view of SOLTORP, which means “Sunny Little Farm” in Swedish

I have written about this before: During my internship in Sweden, I read an article in a Stockholm newspaper about the Swedish colony near Caribou. I was in the process of applying for my Family Practice residency in Maine, so I wrote to one of the people featured in the article. He forwarded my letter to the presidents of both the Caribou and Presque Isle hospitals and they both invited me to come and take a look. The rest is part of my career history and apparent ultimate destiny.

First trip to New Sweden, 1983

As I now reach what the American Social Security Administration calls my full retirement age, I hope to be able to continue the work I love for many more years, but at a pace that allows me to smell the roses along the way. I look forward to having more horse time and more time for my writing.

Another change, sadly, is that I have exchanged my wedding ring for a newly purchased caduceus signet ring. Not that my dedication to medicine and long hours caused this to come about, but this change certainly did make me think hard about how I want to spend whatever time I have left on this planet.

Raking the roof at Soltorp

Look for much more writing in the future, at least after I get settled into my new routine.

Thanks for listening (I mean, reading).


10 Responses to “My New Life”

  1. 1 Edwin L. Hiatt, M.D. June 10, 2019 at 6:27 am

    Congratulations! You’ve earned it and you deserve it. It takes a lot of courage to make those kinds of changes in your l life. I admire you and respect you. Wishing you happiness and the best of luck in your new life. Keep writing!

  2. 2 Charlotte Duncan June 10, 2019 at 9:32 am

    How wonderful for you. Good decisions. I look forward to reading more of your writing. Will there be books?

  3. 4 Susan Neely June 10, 2019 at 10:06 am

    I am so happ that you have made this decision although I am sure some of your patients will miss you!! We were priveleged to work during a time of freedom to practice to the best of our ability. I think that era is over. My practice of pharmacy is totally over(all those wasted drug names and dosages still rattle around in my brain. Best wishes to you and your family, including the horses!!

  4. 5 Elizabeth Baker June 10, 2019 at 11:03 am

    Thank you for all you have done for your local intimate practice and for the rest of us out in the world who have had the privelege of reading your work and thinking and acting on our own. I wish you and your family the very best.

  5. 6 Mary d June 10, 2019 at 11:18 am

    Best wishes for an easy transition

  6. 7 Mary Ellen McColl June 10, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    Excellent progress toward “preferment “ not retirement. (Another physician’s excellent term, not mine).
    Keep writing, please.
    Take care

  7. 8 mmwm June 13, 2019 at 11:32 am

    Glad you will still be writing, maybe even more?, and happy you’re reducing the commuting, working, etc., and have a whole hour per day for something new!

  8. 9 Shannon S, MD July 2, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    Thanks for your wonderful, accurate writing. I wish you all the best in your new transitions, and hope that you continue to provide us with your insights on medicine and life in general. Writing from Sweden, ME (not the New one!)

  9. 10 Kelley July 15, 2019 at 11:00 pm

    Keep writing Hans
    Use the extra hours to converse with Jesus and the blessings will overcome you

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