When I retired from dentistry in 1994, I felt strongly that some intelligent employer would discover me and offer me a fabulous position for my second career. So far, 20 years later this has not come to fruition.
I would never demean my 50 years in dentistry. It gave my family and I a good living and helped me put my three children through wonderful colleges and into reasonable professions. Dentistry was hard-work, demanding both physically and intellectually.
I always received gratification relieving pain or improving a patient’s smile. I tried to provide a positive experience at the dentist. I never felt you could practice part time. Three days a week was definitely not a way to practice for me.
My wife was not thrilled with my retirement. She knew that I was a Type A individual and would soon be bored. The prestige and good pay was also gone. How would Stanley survive?
Let me tell you what I have accomplished in these 20 years, it may be helpful to others.
1 – I audited courses at SUNY Old Westbury in philosophy, Literature including Shakespeare, saw, and history studying and reading great books. Prior to SUNY Old Westbury, I took courses at Nassau Community College. I always wanted to be a student and not worry about term papers or tests. I have also enjoyed book discussion groups.
2 – I taught Russian immigrants English in Brighton Beach for several years for the Jewish National Fund. The Russian students were learned, educated and almost all had degrees in either medicine or engineering. They were an intelligent group and we learned from each other. Each session was fun.
3 – I wrote and published a book of my columns, since I have been writing for the Syosset-Jericho Tribune for 16 years, “Over 60 And Getting Younger.”
4 – I’ve been an attending Dentist at Jamaica Hospital for 44 years, teaching dental residents. It is wonderful to be with young motivated men and women.
5 – Lorraine and I enjoy seeing plays, movies and travel, “while we still can.”
6 – I also have to mention, every spring and summer, I “deck farm”. I plant tomatoes, eggplants, basil, peppers and cucumbers. It is satisfying and fun to eat the vegetables I’ve grown and watch my grandsons water the plants.
7 – I still play tennis, though my game is not what it used to be.
Dentistry was rewarding and so is retirement.