I Surprised Myself at 65 Years by Not Wanting to Retire

I Surprised Myself at 65 Years by Not Wanting to Retire
A. David Barnes OB-GYN (Obstetrician-Gynecologist) Holladay, Utah

Dr. A. David Barnes is a top OB-GYN (Obstetrician-Gynecologist) in Holladay, Utah. With a passion for the field and an unwavering commitment to their specialty, Dr. A. David Barnes is an expert in changing the lives of their patients for the better. Through their designated cause and expertise in the field, Dr. A. David... more

Several of my medical school friends had died of cancer, car accidents, even HIV. A few had retreated to summer homes. Marty and Helene had bought a large boat and were texting pictures from their yacht in the Caribbean.   

But I love my work. What is better than delivering a healthy newborn baby for a young mother on December 25, and saying "Happy Christmas"?   

I surprised myself when I thought back over the years that I had never had a serious illness or needed an operation. I had enjoyed jogging, skiing at Park City, cycling and swimming. The idea of a rocking-chair had not occurred to me. I decided I would cover other obstetricians who needed time for vacation, conferences, or sickness.   

At 70 years I surprised myself again when I accepted a call to cover a physician in Sitka, Alaska, for Christmas. Arriving Wednesday I was asked, "Were you aware Saturday is Polar Dip Day?" An elderly gent whispered, "Don't do it! Heart attack waiting!" Three days later I surprised myself by jumping into the freezing cold Alaskan icy ocean, then swimming for several minutes. My legs felt like lead pipes as the group exited the water. A lady doc shouted, "Let's do it again!". I had no choice. Our reward was a "Certificate of Insanity"; however, after a hot bath, my whole body seemed rebooted and I felt 20 years younger.   

Maybe that was why I surprised myself again by completing the Honolulu Marathon of 26.2 miles for my 75th birthday. The reward: finishing the race and stumbling into the waves at Waikiki Beach for the best massage.   

Another telephone call: Would I cover two OB-GYN practices in Pennsylvania for two weeks? Three babies came between midnight and breakfast one morning in Punxsutawney. I thought it was Groundhog Day.   

Weeks later, I found myself the only OB-GYN in a 100-mile radius in Montana. I was along the Lewis and Clark route of 1805. Karl, a good nursing friend who organized small emergency plane evacuations, suggested we support and attend a group of "Wounded Warriors" for the day. Absolutely. They did not need much encouragement to practice sniper rifle fire on targets a mile away and enjoy lunch, and horse-riding was available too.   

I really surprised myself this year by completing my first book, an autobiography, Insanity of Wars, due to be published in November by Xlibris.   

I have reasoned from my exploits above, that while I keep fit, I have a good chance of remaining capable of doing my work for others.   

I know the days and years will continue to bring surreal surprises, but it will be up to me to be primarily responsible (and grateful) for my own good health.