Reflections on Retirement@65

ROJoson’s Reflections on Retirement@65

13Nov25

On January 31, 2014, I will be tagged as a 65-year-old person.  In the Philippines, there is a law that stipulates that I “retire” from being a regular government employee upon reaching the age of 65.  I am still currently being employed by the University of the Philippines Manila (UP College of Medicine) and Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center (two government institutions, employed on a part-time basis) as of November 25, 2013.  By January 31, 2014, at age 65, I will be subjected to the compulsory retirement requirement of the Philippine law.

In my life plan which I formulated in 1994 and continually updated with the latest one being on 2011, I included 65 years old as a milestone with a tag of “retirement.”  This tag connotes a crossroad – what will I do next after reaching age 65.  [By the way, January 31, 2014 will be my next birthday in which I will be 65 years old and it is Chinese New Year in 2014 and is declared by the Philippine Government as an official holiday!]

Above explanation is the context of my writings on my “Reflections on Retirement.”

I decided to put into writing my “Reflections on Retirement” for two key reasons.  One is to prepare for the talk that I may have to give during a retirement ceremony that I have to attend.  I like to give a meaningful talk.  Two is to make things clearer on what I really plan to do after January 31, 2014.  For me, I feel that by writing, I can spell out more clearly and in more definite terms my thoughts and plans.

I foresee my audience and readers to be surgical residents and colleagues; medical teachers and colleagues; hospital administration staff and colleagues; friends; and family circles.

My reflections will basically be my thoughts, perceptions, opinions, and recommendations which I would like to share for whatever their worth, but with learning and coaching as my specific objectives.

My reflections will cover the following topics:

My Concept of Retirement and How I Will Retire

Living Life

Health

Practice of Medicine / Surgery

Teaching and Learning in Medicine / Surgery

Research in Medicine / Surgery

Hospital Administration

Others

My Concept of Retirement and How I Will Retire

Should I completely drop what I have regularly been doing in my professional life when I retire? Should I completely drop my practice of medicine and surgery?  Should I completely drop my teaching, writing, and research in medicine and surgery?  Should I completely drop my practice in hospital administration?  Should I drop completely my regular income-associated jobs and just rely on pension and savings that I have accumulated before the age 65?

My answer is NO. Since I am not completely disabled yet; since I have no savings that assure me I can cope with the expenses that I will incur in the remaining years of my life on earth (I don’t know when I am going to die; every second, every minute, every hour, every day I am living on earth entails expense); since I don’t know what kind of disease I will get after age 65 before I die and the disease that I will finally die of (huge medical expenses may be incurred); since cost of living on this earth is constantly increasing; and since I will be bored to the point of getting sick if I don’t do anything, particularly those things that I have been used to; I will NOT completely drop what I have regularly been doing in my professional life.

However, I will definitely reduce the volume of the activities associated with my professional life (specifically, those associated with being a physician-surgeon; medical-surgical teacher; and hospital administrator).  This decision on reduction of volume of activities is made after I completed a self-evaluation on what I had set out to do and accomplish in my life, particularly, before age 65.  By the end of December 2013, I will have accomplished the targets I set for my legacies (see below).  I subscribe to the saying that I am not created to do everything in this world, but just to do something worthwhile.  This something are the legacies that I have decided to accomplish before I die.  I have accomplished them already.  After January 31, 2014, my options are to stop completely or to continue on refining my legacies.  I have decided to continue on but I will do them at a more relaxed and less stressful pace.

Here is a list of the legacies that I have decided to do and have accomplished: 

ROJ Family Legacy

ROJ Patients Legacy

ROJ Students Legacy

ROJ Philippines Legacy

ROJ Manila Doctors Hospital / Department of Surgery Legacy

ROJ Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center Department of Surgery Legacy

ROJ Philippine General Hospital Department of Surgery and GSI Division Legacy

ROJ University of the Philippines College of Medicine Legacy 

ROJ Legacies Husband / Parent Hospital / Department Administration Medical / Surgical / Health Education Well-being and Medical Management
 Family √ (Husband / Parent)      
 Philippines      √ (Health)  
 Patients      √ (Health) √ (Well-being and Medical Management)
Students    √ (Hospital Administration) √ (Medical / Surgical Education)  
Manila Doctors Hospital / Department of Surgery   √ (Surgical Education)  
Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center  Department of Surgery    √ (Surgical Education)  
Philippine General Hospital Department of Surgery and GSI Division    √ (Surgical Education)  
University of the Philippines College of Medicine      √ (Medical Education)  

  

ROJ Legacies Some Key Performance Indicators Accomplished
Family Foundation for Family
Philippines  Public Health Education and Advisories (Facebook and websites)Philippine Quality Awards for MDH and CMZ
Patients  Health Education
Students  Health – Medical Education
Manila Doctors Hospital / Department of Surgery Quality, Safety, and Performance Excellence ProgramsSurgical Education
Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center Department of Surgery  Safety ProgramGovernance – Department of Surgery

Surgical Education

Medical Anecdotal Reports (November 2013)

Philippine General Hospital Department of Surgery and GSI Division  Governance – GSISurgical Education

GSI Renovated Office (July 2013)

University of the Philippines College of Medicine  Medical EducationCentennial Professor 2008

Summary on my Retirement:

I have decided to decrease the volume of my activities on my medical-surgical practice, medical-surgical education in institutions, and hospital administration.   I have decided to allot more time to my family, particularly my wife; writings on my advocacies and publishing them online; and personal relaxation.

ROJoson’s Thoughts, Perceptions, Opinions, and Recommendations (TPORs) on Retirement:

  1. Retirement outside the context of a compulsory complete cessation or separation from jobs in government and non-governmental institutions, should mean just slowing down and not completely dropping everything one has regularly been doing, that is, if one is not disabled).
  2. Retirement implies that one has completely accomplished what one sets out to do for one’s legacy.  Do “something” meaningful in this world and complete that “something” before one retires. That “something” is the same as legacy.
  3. During retirement, if you are not disabled yet, continue to refine and strengthen your established legacies but at a slower, less stressful and more relaxed pace.

In November 3, 2007, I made a resolution to embark on a project which I dubbed as Writing before Retiring.   I thought of writing before retiring or writing while I am still somehow active in the practice of my profession.  My thinking is that for one to be credible in giving “currently useful” advices, particularly in the fields where the information and knowledge are never considered absolute, permanent, and static and where new information and knowledge are being added at a fast pace, he / she must still be actively practicing and up to date.  If I start writing after my retirement age, I will feel insecure in what I will advice because during this time, even if I want to, I may not be able to catch up with the fast pace of knowledge evolution.

I have successfully embarked on the Project Writing before Retiring as evidenced by my numerous postings in my websites, blogs, and Facebook.  The latest is the publication on November 11, 2013 of Medical Anecdotal Reports in the Development of Holistic, Professional, and Compassionate Physicians in the Philippines.  I have two more months to go (December and January) before I end the Project.  These last two months constitute the last “two minutes” in my Project Writing before Retiring.   I will try to write TPORs on the topics of life, health, medical profession, medical education, medical research, and hospital administration, and others.

*Note: I completed the MAR Volume 1 last November 2013.

Subsequent topics will be the following (not necessarily in a chronological order and not necessarily to be completed within one month of retirement, maybe one year).

Living Life

Health

Practice of Medicine / Surgery

Teaching and Learning in Medicine / Surgery

Research in Medicine / Surgery

Hospital Administration

Others

ROJ@14feb3

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