Quit or continue
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Most of us might be new to the practice or in the middle of a good running practice right now. So the question posed above might feel strange to many of us. May be its not the time yet to plan or even think for retirement? Well, maybe, maybe not.

As quoted by an internationally acclaimed dental speaker, Dr.Greg Psaltis- “If you choose to live your future now, it will not come as a big surprise when you choose to slow down or transition out of your dental practice.”

Talking about his own experience in one of his lectures, Dr.Greg mentions that a few years back, he brought in a partner to share his solo practice. The main aim of his decision was that he wanted to give more time to his non dental interests. His plan exceeded his expectations and now each of them is working alternating weeks.

Future is not years away. Through proper planning one can incorporate both work and fun together in one’s life. There is no need to wait for that golden period of retirement in order to do your favorite activities like learning to play guitar or go for a tour in Europe!

If you are not taking out time to maintain a healthy lifestyle right now, you probably might not do it even at the age of 70 when you are planning to retire. So start having fun while you are working or I might say while you still can…

Most of us might have developed a good fortune after working hard for many years and think that there is no need to work any more but is economic stability the only thing we are longing for? Work brings satisfaction which is of more value than the money we earn.

Remember the first time any patient had complimented your work?

“OH!! MY TOOTH IS OUT! I DID NOT EVEN REALIZE” or

“ THE PAIN HAD GONE IMMEDIATELY DOC. MAY GOD BLESS YOU.”

And we carry a smile on our face throughout the journey back home after these good comments, don’t we?

If work and fun will go hand in hand, we never will have to miss the sound of the airotor sooner than expected! You like to play cricket? Start playing now instead of saving it for later times as the so called ‘LATER’ never arrives. If you want more time to do what you want, then take that time by working less and not by quitting the work.

Now the question is how to take out this time? May be , you could try with an assistant dentist to distribute your work load or just simply find yourself an environment that is considerably less stressful than managing your own practice.

Dr. Stephen Safran had been working for 35 years before he decided to stop working. But he could not bear it for more than 5 years and restarted his work again. The only thing he changed was a transition from private practice to a practice in nursing home.

On being asked that “ Do we ‘HAVE TO’ retire?”, Dr. Stephen says “If you truly enjoy dentistry, but do not want as much stress in your life, I highly recommend you rethink the decision to retire completely from dentistry. “

If you really love what you are doing and are completely satisfied by your practice then retirement will be an empty disappointment for you. Life seems to be sort of empty if we don’t extract even a simple tooth for days sometimes. So imagine just quitting those forceps forever!!!

If retirement to you means fulfilments in personal life than give it a second thought before opting for full retirement. Our work defines us more or less. So to stop working will mean a loss of identity to some. You may decide to slow down with age though.

This age old idea of retirement seems to be outdated now. It was all proposed for the era of our grandparents and because they stopped working at the age of 65 that doesn’t mean we need to do the same. It was invented at a different time for a different reason.

Age is just a number after all. Why to quit what you love to do just because you hit that 60 or 65 mark that is a standard set by the society. And most importantly what are you retiring to? Playing golf or watching your favourite movies? For 168 hours a week?Imagine getting up everyday and roaming about in the garden wondering what to do! Waking up with no purpose can be unimaginably stressful.

Mitch Anthony in his book ‘The New Retirementality’ talks about planning your life and living your dreams at any age you want. The whole concept is based on taking mini retirements along the way and having a balance between vacation and vocation.

The transition from total work to total leisure is a joy only in fantasy. Reality is totally different. Life doesn’t work that way. There is an age old saying that “ If you do work you love, you never work a day in your life.”

Leaving aside the other issues, if you are healthy enough to be able to work besides the so called “retirement age” then it is a blessing in disguise. If that smile on your patient’s face brings joy to your life then why to leave? Wasn’t joy the ultimate goal of retirement after all?

Inspite of this if you are tired and stressed out from work and waiting for the day you will retire, then may be you should re think about your approach and take mini retirements along the way!

Dr. Zainab
Dr Zainab A Rangwala completed graduation from GDC, Jamnagar She is practicing since 3 years. Avid reader and writer by passion.

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