now browsing by category
Now that I’m retired I have a lot of extra time to spend with my grandkids, and I absolutely love it. When my son was growing up I missed out on a lot of activities because I was always busy with work. I made myself a promise that I wouldn’t make the same mistake with my grandkids, which is why I have spent this past summer taking them along with me on fishing, camping and hiking trips.
With summer winding down and my grandkids getting ready to go back to school I decided to squeeze in one more trip with them. I really am trying to keep my promise to my son, and teach his kids all about nature. So this past weekend I loaded up the car with enough supplies to take care of an army, picked up the grandkids and off into the wilderness we went. Actually we just went to the nearby state park, but according to the kids “we were way off the map”.
So the reason I decided on a weekend camping trip was because we could combine everything into a couple of days. We could fish and hike during the day, and sleep comfortably under the stars at night. When I say we slept under the stars I am referring to the opening on the top of our tent. The kids wanted to be able to see the sky without worrying constantly about snakes and bugs. Personally I was okay with that. I’m too old now to sleep on the ground and actually be able to move comfortably the next day.
We were lucky enough to get a great campsite in a clearing and close to the stream. We were far enough away I didn’t have to worry about my grandkids falling in the water in the middle of the night, but still close enough that we could just hear it when everything was quiet. It was pretty late in the afternoon when we got there Friday so all we did was set up the campsite, fix dinner and get some sleep.
The next day I thought we’d start with a hike, and I’m glad we did. Otherwise my grandkids wouldn’t have been able to sit still while we did a bit of fishing. I had honestly forgotten how much energy kids have, and I’m not embarrassed to say I had a hard time keeping up with them. Thankfully the trail is well graded and considered to be relatively safe. This way I could let them run a little ways ahead without worrying about them getting into too much trouble. It is a good thing that I had already taught them the three leaf rule, “leaves of three leave them be” since the kids did manage to come across some Poison Ivy.
We did get in a little fishing that afternoon and one of my grandkids caught his first fish. We fried it up for dinner, and it was absolutely delicious. While we were all tired when we got home Sunday, it was probably one of the best camping trips I have ever been on. Especially when I heard one of my grandkids tell my son the very same thing.
It may sound awkward to some, but for those who have embraced a medical career my story will sound familiar. Being a surgeon, especially, means that your life is not yours anymore, and you grow more convinced of that after a couple of years in the field. It’s not only about the long shifts, the long surgeries, but it is about the long hours spent at home trying to keep yourself updated with the newest medical discoveries or trying to find time (in your spare time) to attend conferences and meetings that may prove helpful to you. It’s a life of pressure and of responsibility, one in which you need to keep yourself alert at all times that you are operating on people and that, sometimes, their lives are in your hands and that’s why you can’t afford to feel tired or sloppy. This is how your existence progresses, until, one day, you need to give up this lifestyle.
For people who are absorbed by their careers, not because they want to, but because they need to, in order to do their jobs at an outstanding level, retiring is like landing on Mars. You go out one day and you realize you’ve missed a lot, things were built, places have changed and you never noticed, not because you weren’t there in those years, but because you barely had time to take a look at them. You now have so much time on your hands that you feel like you’re spending someone else’s and it makes you feel guilty. Well, in such occasions, you need to keep yourself busy with whatever hobby you can find. You start digging through things that you haven’t touched since college years, you reconnect with old friends – you find out that some of them died or they moved abroad, some of them may be retired like you, and if you are lucky they also live close by. So, together, you decide there’s something you got to do with this insane amount of free time.
That’s how I got into fishing. I have never been a fan of any sports, except for jogging, out of necessity, and biking. Surprisingly, I’ve discovered fishing is not so bad either and, if you have some financial resources for a decent fishing kit, you may even be rewarded with catching some great specimens. Even so, you discover you still have a lot of free time that you don’t know how to dispose of. So, you ask around for inspiration hoping others can offer you a piece of good advice. In my case, it was my son, who believed that my relationship with my grandchildren needs to be heavily improved, since I missed a lot of family reunions in the last 10-20 years. I’m quite sure he’s trying to get back at me for missing all those birthdays and important events in his life, though he also motivated his request by saying that he remembers some of our trips in nature, biking or hiking back in the days when he was still a child and I still had some free days. He thought I could take his kids out and showed them how to love nature. I said I’d do it, why not be of help to my grandchildren and have some fun in the meantime? After all, I am a doctor, what’s the worst that could happen? But, since I still have some free time left, I’m gonna write about what we’re doing when we’re out fishing and hiking on this blog. Hope me and my grandchildren will find things in common to enjoy.