Saturday, September 28, 2013

when people don't stop

Here's another installment in the mini Ocean series on "Life After Sixty:"

I was chatting to a doctor yesterday, one whom I rarely see (which is interesting in itself because, for being these days a fairly healthy person, I have been a very big user of the health care system). Somehow we got on the subject of when people retire.
I can tell you with complete certainty that I'll stop working by age sixty, he tells me. (For Ocean readers who do not remember this, I am sixty. This particular doctor is forty-eight.)

It struck me then that I do not know a single doctor with gray hair.

And that's been true for a while. My children's pediatrician took a year off in his fifties to go back to his old country (Switzerland) and shortly after resigned, filling in occasionally, but never again did he maintain a regular practice. The doctor who delivered my babies, too, retired in his fifties. He sold his worldly possessions, bought a boat and went off with his wife to live on the Caribbean,

By contrast, the university is full of gray hair. They cynics may offer a lot of ignoble reasons for that, but I'll throw out one that maybe you hadn't considered: lecturing can be addictive.

In the hallways, you'd occasionally hear faculty say that we don't get paid to teach, we get paid to grade exams. (I have to say, those of us who have taught the more loaded schedules would probably give an eye roll to that, but there is some truth in the fact that teaching is rewarding, in ways that maybe medical practice these days, ironically enough, is not.)

It's true that doctors earn more than the average academic (to say nothing of the underpaid academic). So that retirement becomes more attractive earlier. And yet, work satisfaction is, I think, what keeps profs glued to that lectern. Why should you move on if you like where you are, right?

To be continued in the next Ocean installment of  "Life after Sixty."

On to the regular Ocean fare:

For a long time now, I have been taking a weekend break in mid-October. The Fall semester is intense and that time away is always enormously invigorating. Last year I went to Maine. The year before, we took our kayaks down the Wisconsin River. And before, we did a whole series of camping weekends up north. Still earlier -- we camped on the floor of an empty flat in New York. So where to this year? Because the days have been so much like a treadmill, I haven't had a chance to think much about it.

Until today when something that Ed said make me perk up. And start a web search. It will have to be a solo escape again. Ed is too enmeshed in the roof project to take off (nor is my choice exactly his type of trip). That's okay -- it's only a long week-end away. More on that in a couple of weeks.

And now, let's get back to what's cookin' at the farmette: Ed harvested the last of the grapes that dangled seductively over the entrance to the sheep shed.

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His jam making operations are in full swing. It's a round the clock project. I'll catch him stirring and sampling at midnight, or, like today, just before sunrise. But our reward is a winter's supply of jams. For my ever predictable lunch:

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Finally, an update on the flowers: the warm September air has kept things lively in the garden. I leave you today with these evening photos of the best of the best. What a tremendously beautiful month this has been!


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