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life-as-retiree

In hindsight, I’ve asked myself why I thought I could navigate two major life experiences at the same time. Having bilateral Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) and leaving one’s job each require 100% attention without the confusion of an added challenge.

Programming decisions for the side effects of major brain surgery do not leave much time for streamline decision-making about a new daily routine as a retiree.

When I worked, the schedule of each day was a given. The 8am–to–5pm agenda with overtime was assumed by the administration and staff, rain or shine. Each day, my colleagues and I knew that we’d have social time together when we met for lunch in the cafeteria. After retirement, my social opportunities and routine were replaced by a slowly moving, never ending blank calendar. Every minute, every hour, every day is now all up to me. Decisions, decisions, decisions!

Pastimes are embargoed by uncertainty as retirement and health decisions vie for attention. Lifestyle questions abound.

• Where to live?
• Condo, single-family home or senior retirement community?
• Buy or rent?
• Now or later?
• How to plan financially?

Health questions also need to be answered.

• Is my PD management successful?
• Has DBS triggered side-effects?
• Am I trying the DBS program for long enough periods?
• Is my PD treatment expectation too great?
• Should I add medications to my daily management?
• How can I maneuver from A to B unnoticed?

I don’t have answers, other than to say that I feel more equipped to meet the day after a morning walk with walking poles. I keep an updated passport with a bucket list for travel, and try to always have a lunch date and a doctor’s appointment on the calendar for fun and hope. There’s a world of discovery out there in retirement, and all it takes is getting out the door!

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