Jerry Gottlieb, M.D., expected to play a lot of golf during his retirement.
It didn’t quite turn out that way – and he couldn’t be happier.
Dr. Gottlieb, who will fully retire from practicing psychiatry in December, has found fulfillment in volunteering to help disadvantaged children and embracing both old and new hobbies.
“As physicians, we’re used to working long hours,” he said. “Some of us are happy to take it easy once we retire. Others find it’s not enough, and we need to continue doing something to help people.”
Dr. Gottlieb practiced psychiatry locally for 33 years, including more than 20 with LG Health. From 2005 to 2008, he served as the first physician president of Lancaster General Medical Group. By 2010, he had scaled back to working one day a week as a forensic psychiatrist.
He admits that he was spending a little too much time around the house.
“I always loved playing golf, but I never had enough time to play,” he said. “But I discovered that the more I played, the less I enjoyed it. And I really wasn’t getting any better, which was the worst part.”
Dr. Gottlieb began volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club, helping children with their homework two days a week. Then his wife Diane saw an ad for volunteers for Court Appointed Special Advocates, who support children in foster care.
“CASA became my love,” he said. “Kids in foster care are pure victims. They have no say over the circumstances they were born into. In order to be removed from their families, they have been exposed to neglect, abuse or other things that children should never experience.”
Dr. Gottlieb now spends about 16 to 20 hours per month as a CASA volunteer, which involves everything from home visits to regular updates to the court. For the past year, he has worked with a family of four young children who are living in two different resource (foster) homes.
“CASA volunteers serve as a stabilizing influence in foster children’s lives,” he said. “You really form a connection with the kids. They’re just like any other kids. They want consistency and love, and to be treated like they should. The hard part is feeling their pain.”
Jerry Gottlieb, M.D., especially enjoys spending time with his 1-year-old grandson Jake.
Volunteering isn’t all that keeps Dr. Gottlieb busy. He enjoys being physically active and working around the house, which includes sawing and stacking wood from his 2-acre forest property to use in his two fireplaces. He has taken up photography and especially enjoys visits with his 1-year-old grandson.
“I also love to read,” he said. “Before, I only had time to read on vacation or a page before I fell asleep.”
Dr. Gottlieb, who misses the collegiality but not the stress of being a physician, encourages new retirees to spend the first year exploring possibilities without making long-term commitments. Adjusting to retirement will likely be especially challenging for those who have not developed interests outside of medicine, he said.
“Being a physician is more than a job. It’s an identity,” he said. “Retirement is an adjustment. But you don’t realize all the stress you have as a physician until you don’t have it anymore. There’s more to life. Time is the one commodity you can’t replace.”
Dr. Gottlieb still has time to play golf about once a week.