This is New Year’s Eve. The last day of 2012. The years seem to go by much more quickly now. Wouldn’t it be great if we had a time machine with which we could roll back the calendar to our younger years? If this was possible I’m really not sure to what year I would wish to return.
My teen years were a lot of fun, but I also encountered many problems and painfully unpleasant situations. Certainly, it was a time of many fond memories, but there was just too much stress for a teenager. I don’t think I would go beck to my teen years.
My 20’s began during my university years and gave me my first taste of freedom. Yet those years were also extremely stressful and tough because I had a really hard time studying, resulting in some enormous pressures at exam times. After graduation I discovered that I did not like being a community pharmacist. I thought about going back to school to change my profession. Fortunately, I was persuaded to give hospital pharmacy a try so I became a staff pharmacist in a 500-bed teaching hospital. It was very rewarding and I felt that I had found my place in life. Six months after starting on this new career path I was drafted into the Army and sent to Vietnam. I don’t think I would want to go through those years again.
My third decade was one of indecision and change. I had come out of the army a different person, but I went back to my old hospital pharmacy job after discharge from the service but was not quite satisfied with being a staff pharmacist. I wanted to be the person making the decisions so I went back to school for my Doctor of Pharmacy degree, hoping that it would give me a career advantage. Once I had received the degree I spent two years teaching in the pharmacy school. However, I wasn’t satisfied with that job either. Seniors were graduating and making more money in their first jobs than I was making teaching them. I left academia and took a position as a Director of Pharmacy in a 325-bed hospital. After 8 years I felt that I had accomplished all I could in that position and there was little hope of advancement. I was very interested in home care pharmacy and began looking into the possibilities. I landed a job with Abbott Laboratories as the manager of a regional home-care pharmacy. There were plenty of good times during my 30’s; however, there was so much uncertainty and frustration that I don’t think I would go back to my 30’s again.
When I became 40 years old my father told me that I was entering the best decade of my life. Those ten years saw me living and working for Abbott in Atlanta, Dallas, and Chicago. I enjoyed working for Abbott. I felt like it was somehow more “prestigious” than all of my previous jobs. But, those years were also extremely stressful. I was required to play the corporate game with 60-hour weeks, increasingly unrealistic goals, and working for a micro-managing boss. I became clinically depressed and was prescribed antidepressants. Although financially rewarding, those were some of the toughest years of my life. No, I don’t wish to that again.
At 50 I was in Chicago at Abbott’s Headquarters and hoping that my father had been wrong about the best decade of my life! At 55 years of age I took early retirement and left Chicago for Texas. I was reminded how after being defeated for re-election to Congress, Davey Crockett famously said, “You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas.” Once in Texas, I spent the next 5 years doing almost nothing productive. I began working part-time in a local hospital pharmacy to have something to do. It’s a tough call, but I don’t believe I would like doing my 50’s over again.
I am currently in my 60’s and still wondering which decade was the best and which one I would like to revisit. Since I can’t decide, I guess I’ll just stay where I am.
Happy New Year!