When the wind sweeps across Northern Minnesota, even the ice fisherman, snowmobile people, and cross-country skiers go indoors. From Ely to St. Paul, doors are closed tight, wood burns, and traffic is sparse. One man swore he saw a giant otter driving a van. The sad fact is that no one became alarmed.
Most hockey players at my college came from Canada, Massachusetts, or Minnesota. We all became acquainted with places like Thief River Falls, Duluth, and Mankato. The National Hockey League’s Hall of Fame is even in Minnesota.
Hugh Pates didn’t play ice hockey but scored the basket that won the State Championship for his high school fifty years ago. Even now, when he returns to St. Paul, people will approach him and talk about that game!
One might think that Hugh went on to play college ball after high school, but no, he didn’t. He became a monk! He studied, prayed, and contemplated; he became a Catholic priest in 1963. However, his desire to serve others clashed with his wish to have more intimate and meaningful relationships, and, decisively, Hugh left the priesthood after ten years.
In short order, Hugh departed from the land of ice, snow, and mosquitoes for graduate school in California. Hugh had classes at the United States International University with Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow, Viktor Frankl, and Fritz Perls.
Recently I had coffee with an old friend who will be retiring soon. My friend is resourceful and has a track record of success in his profession and recreational life. I asked him how he felt about retiring, and he said he was scared. He said he was afraid he wouldn’t find meaningful ways to spend his time. I understood his anxiety and felt confident he would find purposeful ways to use his time. At the same time, I think his concerns are shared by many.
Today my wife and I devoted a morning to sorting old clothing and gear to give a lot of used stuff to Goodwill. The mission was successful, but I must say it was emotionally challenging for me. I saw my hiking, mountain climbing, and bike history go out the door in plastic bags. Of course, I no longer did those activities, but somehow the presence of the gear made me believe I might in the future and symbolically preserved my history.
Does your surgeon keep your records at home? Many psychologists store their old records in their homes or garages—a bad idea. Think about fire, robberies, and water damage. Keeping your records in a professional storage site like Iron Mountain is best. The facility catalogs your files, making them easy to retrieve if subpoenaed or requested. Don’t be professionally embarrassed.
Make sure you check your hearing and, if needed, get hearing aids. Poor hearing compromises social life and can encourage isolation. Hearing aids have improved over the years and are cosmetically unobtrusive.
I have talked with some friends who have thought about taking up golf in retirement. If you enjoy being outdoors, hitting a ball around without much concern about how competent you become, then do it. See an instructor, get some tips on clubs, take a few lessons and go for it! Whether one takes up the sport or not depends greatly on who you are.
On the other hand, if you want to be a good player who is competitive with peers, give the decision some thought. Unless you are a gifted athlete, you can count on hours of practice and instruction at times without too much progress. Taking on the game takes a considerable time and financial commitment. It is an exciting game that can be very satisfying, but it is daunting.
Drive to the Lumberyard Center in Encinitas, having left another car in Del Mar on Highway 101. From Encinitas, walk south along the ocean. In 7.5 miles, you will reach your destination in Del Mar. Have lunch and bask in a job well done. The walk features excellent views, occasional dolphins, happy bikers and walkers, funky shops, and California sunshine.
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” – Annie Lamott
The idea of taking a “sabbatical” had been rattling around in my brain for many years but took root as COVID began to impact the big world and my small private practice in it. There were multiple challenging adaptations and pivots, so many of us experienced during these last few years, including shifting to telehealth, pandemic anxiety, the intensity of cultural fear and anger, and managing the increasing surge of new and former patients requesting therapy. Managing an already full private practice, waiting list, and fielding calls from new and former patients was overwhelming. Finding referrals was challenging. Saying “no” to former patients I had worked with at various times during their lifecycle was painful and unexpected. The sheer amounts of calls, emails, and texts were a bit much for my pre-digital-age brain. My eyes and neck were Zoom fatigued.
Walk, walk, walk. It is excellent exercise and easy on the joints. It is suitable for us seniors who frequently have old injuries. Here is a robust hike for you. Iron Mountain is in Poway at Highway 67 and Poway Road. There is a large parking lot before a trail that leads to the summit. The track is walker-friendly and doesn’t get steep until the last quarter mile. The views from the top are spectacular. The hike is very popular so go during the week if possible. In season watch out for rattlesnakes and the heat!