After almost a year of retirement, I was hit with a minor bout of existential crisis. I was surprised that it would hit me because I made a point to never let my profession define who I am. I guess more than 2 decades of doing the same thing, one’s profession inevitably becomes part of the person. It certainly didn’t help when the older generation kept reminding me to live life with a purpose. And at that time, I took “purpose” to mean serving others (it wasn’t until later that I realized that a purposeful life can mean so many different things). So when a recruiter emailed about an opportunity for an Indian Health position, I jumped on it. Long story short, after having talked to a few close friends last fall, my bout of existential crisis lifted, but I ended up being committed to a short-stint VA position in Oregon, which is where we are right now, and will be for at least until the end of May. In the meantime, we’ll use this opportunity to explore Oregon.
The town that we are staying in is Ashland, OR. Its demographics is very similar to that of Laguna Beach. Ashland is a small ‘blue’ town of 22k people surrounded by ‘red’ towns. Instead of Trump flags, the town is dotted with Black Lives Matter lawn signs and Ukrainian flags. Laguna Beach has its Pageants of the Masters and Art Festivals, Ashland has its Shakespeare Festival. If it weren’t so cold up here in Oregon, I could see ourselves living in Ashland.
Ashland’s diverse restaurant scene, however, is far superior to Laguna Beach’s. Joe has taken the opportunity to try out as many restaurants as possible, and so far he has not been disappointed.
As for working at the VA for me, it’s a big change in pace. As opposed to the usual 20-24 patients a day, I’m seeing at most only half that all day. Surprisingly, I’m enjoying it.