The Short Version
- Physician (radiologist)
- Married to a physician (pediatrician)
- Two young children: big brother and little sister
- Original “child” is a black labrador retriever
- Live in the Keystone State
- Aspire to retire early
- Love: travel, food, books, running, the 90s
The Slightly Longer Version
You can call me Dr. Curious.
I grew up in a small coal-mining town, well past its prime by the time I arrived. It was alright, but not very diverse or exciting—facts that, like many things about childhood, I only realized in comparison and in retrospect.
In school, I did my homework, got good grades, and went off to college.
I wasn’t exactly directionless as a college freshman, but “I like science…I guess” didn’t give the college career counselors much to work with. While I can’t recall the details of the decision-making process—memory is a strange and fickle beast—I entered the pre-medicine track at some point freshman year.
For the uninitiated, a pre-medicine track requires certain science courses necessary for medical school admission, and preparation for the Medical College Admission Test. One cannot (usually) major in pre-medicine, and is free to choose any major. I chose biology with a minor in math.
The decision to pursue this track set the wheels in motion for my life and career over the next 14 years: college then medical school then residency then fellowship then job. The path to doctorhood can be quite straight if you jump through the right hoops and do well on multiple-choice tests (whether this system selects for the best doctors is another issue).
Before I knew it, I was in my early 30s and nearing the end of my fellowship training.
A Real Job and Family Life
My first day of work as a full-fledged doctor was in July 2011 at age 32, with just a hint of grey speckling the sideburns. I joined a private practice group in the suburbs. Work was busy but manageable, with plenty of time off to balance the occasional weekend, evening, and overnight shifts. A few years passed.
Then Mr. Stork brought a child. My wife, as a pediatrician and experienced former babysitter, was literally a pro. I drifted through the fog of milk and diapers and emerged with an utter disregard for bodily fluids. A few more years passed, and we had an inquisitive little human living with us. Another one has plans to join us any day now.
No one really knows what the future holds, but it never hurts to plan a little. For years I have calculated my retirement savings numbers, which reinforced the need to figure out what I will do in the next stage of life. Retirement, or at least semi-retirement, no longer seems so far off or far-fetched.
Whatever I do in retirement (or semi-retirement), one thing is certain: I will have more time to do it. My brothers and I once spent hours creating a web made of string in our living room—just to see the look on dad’s face when he came home. It’s silly, but one of the fondest memories of my childhood. Some of life’s best experiences only become possible with big chunks of free time.
One particular tenet of retirement planning stands out to me as critical: have something to retire to rather than merely retire from. The latter is a recipe for boredom and discontent. I hope this website—apart from being a hobby in itself—will help me find and explore ideas for what will become my life after work.