Is there life after ophthalmology?

Research shows that one-in-four retirees in Britain goes back to work either for the income or the social aspects

Maryalicia Post

Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2018

Maryalicia Post

Is there life after ophthalmology?

If you’re an ophthalmologist nearing retirement age, you might be asking yourself that question. Chances are the answer’s yes… probably many good years lie ahead.  You may be looking forward to the leisure.

Or perhaps not so much. According to a 2017 study in the journal  of Ageing and Society, one-in-four retirees in Britain goes back to work either for the income or the social aspects.

I’m not an ophthalmologist.. but I did retire once. It didn’t ‘take’.

My second career, as a travel writer, is already longer than my first as a medical editor.  I’ve been a travel writer since 1992. In 2001, I began writing for EuroTimes, still my favourite readership.

The first assignment was Amsterdam. I remember reporting on a trip through the Netherland bogs in a rowboat; in the early days, I reported for ESCRS on places as diverse as the arctic circle and Zanzibar. Currently the focus is on congress destinations, including Vienna, which will host the 36th Congress of the ESCRS in September.

Most of of the articles are at Other pieces have appeared in the Irish Independent, Irish TimesIrish Examiner as well as Abroad Magazine and France. Two of my articles were included in anthologies: Travel Guide France and Travel Guide Ireland.

I embarked on my second career when my husband died of lung cancer. I’d long been involved in anti-smoking campaigns and was editor of a respiratory news letter. Suddenly I didn’t want to read or write anything more about the subject.  I was nearing retirement age anyway. So I quit.

But I missed work. I missed having a project. On the plus side, I could come and go as I pleased, be away for long periods, take risks with no one home worrying about me. I had  contacts with newspaper and magazine editors. I’d travelled a lot in my first career and being a single woman in out-of-the-way destinations didn’t bother me either.

Only a month after my husband’s death, I set off on my first travel writing assignment. A friend chided me for running away from grief. I knew that was not the whole story. Starting a second career felt as if I were ‘running towards’ something rather than running away – running towards new experiences, new friends, a new life.

The ‘second career’ has been a success. Will there be a third?  I hope to be travel writing for a while yet.

But I could write a book (couldn’t we all?)  I did write a book, After You, to track the year after my husband’s death in poetry.  Recently I discovered tanka, the Japanese five-line poem and that led on to the cherita a six-line poetry format. I’m writing in both forms now.

When the wings come off my plane – metaphorically speaking – poetry may be what holds me up.

You never know what’s next…