Thomas Wolff - Personal Retirement Story
Retired seems to me to be a misnomer. Achieving "advancement" seems more appropriate. I first considered giving up my "day job" during the first and only sabbatical I took at the end of my nearly 40 years of faculty work. The ability to focus on only what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it, was overwhelmingly appealing. This combined with a set of the "right" circumstances when I returned to work led to my decision. I don't regret one day since.
I always enjoyed my work, but had many things I wanted to do but never had the time while working. These were in the areas of music and art-quite a change from my scientific and medical life. What I've discovered is I don't seem to have the time now either and I don't have a secretary to keep me organized and "on task". Living life seems to get in the way of my original plans, but I've enjoyed every bit of it. My daily routine includes caring for myself by swimming and working out for at least an hour to try to keep these aging joints and muscles working. Much time, especially between winters, is spent at our Adirondack camp, chopping wood, fishing and playing golf.
The love of my life, my wife of 44 years, and I spend a lot of time doing ordinary things together and being involved with our 11 grandchildren. Fortunately, six of them live in our town, so we get to most of their activities and can help out as necessary. They stop in regularly for Grandma's cookies and Grandpa's fixes for sprains, colds and medical advice. We visit our away grandchildren regularly in Massachusetts and Maine. When we are all together we thrive on the "joyous chaos" - get tired, but can't wait for the next time.
Other than family activities, I am a trustee for the Community Health Foundation of Western and Central New York, am working on writing 3 books, exploring my family genealogy, and serving on this Advisory Council for SUNY Retirees Service Corps. My work on the Foundation has been especially gratifying, trying to fund ideas that can affect system change in how health care is delivered, especially to underserved children and frail elderly. Medical liability costs have prevented me from personally participating in the delivery of medical care to the needy in our region, even on a voluntary basis. It is a frustrating situation I hope to solve.
Teaching gets in your bones and you just can't shake it. Having been a physician and educator all of my career, it was not surprising when the opportunity to help establish a new Physician Assistant program focused on the rural underserved areas of the state came along that I was hooked! I recently took a part-time position as the Medical Director for the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at the College of Health Professions at SUNY Upstate Medical University. I am looking forward to continuing to share my experience with a new generation of providers.
Oh, I just had my piano repaired and tuned, so maybe- just maybe, I can squeeze in some music along the way.