This is a Thanksgiving for which I am particularly grateful. Why? Here are some of the reasons.
I give thanks for. . .
-for living past the age of 65. This kind of lifespan was very unusual for those who lived back when Thanksgiving became a holiday.
-for being over 65 and in relatively good health. I am also reassured by having Medicare coverage with access to good care.
-for being able to retire from the clinical work of psychiatry at the age of 66. Social security provides some financial and psychological security to add to what my wife and I carefully saved.
-for my wife, who is also over 65, and has received the same benefits as I. We have the opportunity to share this time together and give back to the younger generations.
-for whatever wisdom comes with age and learning from experience and mistakes. The easily available information on the Internet does not necessarily translate to wisdom, and perhaps can even inhibit its development.
-for Jim Sabin, who invited me to blog on this site. Developing and sharing ideas of how to improve the life and death of those over 65 helps to replace the loss and sadness of no longer seeing patients.
-for the editors behind the postings, not only Jim Sabin, but also Susan Gilbert and Dan Callahan, for improving my posts. This is a talented and wise group.
-for my fellow bloggers, both under and over 65, for so concisely covering different parts of this aging elephant. Topics range from Japan to Singapore; ageism to forgiveness; driving to robots; Zorba to Amour; HIPAA to hospices; and Seamus Heaney to King Lear.
-for all those readers who made comments, not only to my posts, but to others. The comments have been unusually positive, constructive, and expansive, surely not the case in many other blog sites.
-for The Hastings Center for sponsoring this blog. It is comforting to know that such an esteemed institution, devoted to ethics, appreciates the ethical challenges of being over 65.
-for passing the first anniversary of this site months ago, while I passed my 67th birthday. These kinds of positive anniversaries are worth celebrating.
-for being able to express this sincere gratitude, as I do, since gratitude is good, good for you and good for me. It improves physical and mental health.
-for the rare confluence of Thanksgiving and the beginning of Hanukah on the same day. This reinforces, among other things, appreciation for the freedom (of speech) in America and the role of the ancestors that got me here.
What are you particulary grateful for at this time of year, whether you are over 65 or not?
H. Steve Moffic, M.D., 67, retired from clinical practice at 66. He was fondly deemed a “psychiatric gadfly” by the Chair of the Department of Psychiatry where he first trained. His book The Ethical Way: Challenges and Solutions for Managed Behavioral Healthcare, published in 1997, was the first extended discussion of the ethics of managed mental health care.