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43 Things to do with 86 Weekends in 2018

Vikings Super Bowl Winners

Today we have a fun post from an old friend, and I mean that in the most complimentary way. Our friend Vagabond MD has contributed a number of insightful guest posts including:

The radiologist, who is about 52 years young, has decided to work less and enjoy life more. I’ve fantasized about 50 things I’d like to do when retired, but there’s plenty of fun to be had prior to retirement, and Vagabond MD has made all sorts of plans.

What plans are those? Let’s see what the good doctor has in mind.


Hello, PoF Nation. In part inspired by the lessons of PoF and other mentors, in part because I was running out of human capital gas, and in part because preserving my time was becoming more valuable to me than acquiring more money, I have joined the growing legion of part-time docs. I am 22 years into my career, a point where some of you will be long retired, but, hey, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

My part-time schedule is to work 3 days per week of the 43 work weeks of 2018 (we take 9 weeks of vacation). Ideally, these short workweeds would be scheduled Monday through Wednesday or Wednesday through Friday, but most weeks I will work Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, as this best suits our practice.

As such, I will have essentially two weekends every week, hence the 86 weekends— it’s just that one of the weekends will be a Wednesday and Thursday buried in the middle of the work week. Some of these things (below) are already planned, some are specific to time, locations, and other details, and others less well-developed.

So here we go…

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43 Things to DO with 86 Weekends in 2018


1 – 10:


  • Take a photography course to help explain why my iPhone photos are consistently better than the ones I take with the fancy, expensive camera.
  • Take an iPhone course to help explain why my wife’s iPhone photos are consistently better than mine, despite the fact that I have the newer/better iPhone and the better eye for photography. 😉
  • Prepare and deliver a talk on Burnout for a convention of radiology leaders in January.
  • Find a burned out doc that I can help work through it.
  • Attend a meeting in Minneapolis, in February. (Hmm, maybe full time was not so bad…) [PoF: Waiting until April wouldn’t have made much of a difference this year. 🙁 ]
  • Attend another February event in Minneapolis, if the hometown football team makes it (fingers crossed). [PoF: Cross harder next time!]
  • Attend the WCI Conference in March.
  • Spend time rehabbing orthopedic injury sustained at WCI Conference in March
  • Visit a pair of imaging centers, coincidentally located in and around my hometown, per my part-time consulting gig, in April.

  • Sleep in AND take my daughter to school AND take care of the dogs AND exercise all in the same morning (which previously required my wife to do one or more).


Vikings Super Bowl Winners
wishful thinking from a nine-year old PoF


11 – 20:


  • Do the house cleaning myself Be home to let the house cleaners into the house.
  • Do the yard work myself Yes, I am going to do the yard work myself.
  • Start a vegetable garden
  • Compost
  • Write more guest posts (two currently planned and started).
  • Get paid to write something. [PoF: Your next beer’s on me.]
  • Do research for a London trip this spring. Make all necessary reservations and buy all tickets one month in advance.
  • Start to relearn math, up to and including calculus (Khan Academy)

  • Complete 50 modules of art history courses (Smarthistory)
  • Learn Spanish (beyond necessities like ordering mas cerveza and locating los baños) via Duolingo and books at home.



21 – 30:


  • Learn to make paella, in preparation for an anticipated dinner party with friends.
  • Brew my own beer, at least once.
  • Take naps, at least once (per week).
  • Take dogs to dog park, at least once per week.
  • Work with my daughter to get her drivers license, but until then, be more available to pick her up from school.
  • Make a surprise, unannounced visit to my son, away at college, four hours by car (cue evil laughter)
  • Make a surprise, unannounced visit to my wife’s office, with flowers, to take her for lunch (cue romantic music)
  • Meet daughter for lunch in park by her high school, at least once per month (no cues)
  • Bring lunch to good friend and neighbor, a relatively young man, suffering from progressive metastatic prostate cancer, before it’s too late
  • In the winter, run outside around noon, when it is warmer and light outside, rather than in the cold, dark at 6 AM.




  • In the summer, bike outside before noon, before it gets too hot.
  • Enroll in a spinning class.
  • Take a(nother) wine appreciation class.
  • Be available to trade days with my full-time partners, in case they need a day off.
  • Make a volunteer commitment, at least once per month
  • Get onto a voluntary board for a nonprofit. [PoF: D&O insurance!!!]
  • Volunteer at a trail race
  • Clean out basement and get rid of 90%
  • Clean office and move stuff into the recently (above) cleaned out basement
  • Refresh home computer, restore to factory settings, and reload my content (scary)
  • Take newbie rads in group, individually, out for lunch, beer, or dinner
  • Make some preventative health visits that I have been putting off More naps.
  • Read two books per month (double current average)


To read more from the prolific guest author, Vagabond MD, see all of his articles:



[PoF: I love the list, and I’ll be impressed if you can check off half of these items by the end of 2018. I know it was written earlier in the year and you’ve already checked at least a few boxes. 

The good news is you don’t have to do it all in 2018 or 2019 and I’m sure you’ll continue to add to the list as time goes on. In his most recent book, Dr. Cory S. Fawcett claims that the state of “caught up” doesn’t exist. Dang!]


What’s one thing you would choose to do with an extra weekend this year? 

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41 thoughts on “43 Things to do with 86 Weekends in 2018”

  1. If you don’t write it down you’ll likely never do it. A contract with yourself is important. Nice post Vagabond MD.

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  3. Visit son at college, surprise visit. Cue evil laughter… hehe. That one got me thinking. I’m only about 15 years from college and that one brings back memories.

    I’m still full time work but keep a list. It mainly is business ideas though. I guess that’s my ambition showing. I might put “make a retirement list” on my list though, I like lists…..
    Good thoughts probably would result.

    These are some varied topics. You must have thought about them long before penning. It would take me a few months to come up with one as interesting.

    Btw I did find an old Vagabond MD blog a while back when I was starting my blog and looking at other doc blogs. I liked your comments so searched. It’s still up, last post 2006. Was this you?


    It seemed like it was maybe one of the first ever blogs. Probably linked with AOL mail : )

  4. I guess I flunk lists. I’m much more random.

    I never realized how interesting it is to own a dairy farm One of my old nurse’s daddy owns a farm near this guy.

    Explore SDR radio as a part time software tester They build it and it’s my job to try and break it to make it better. I don’t get paid I just get to delve into some majorly interesting engineering.

    Write my own software for microcontrollers and Raspberry Pi’s

    Build really wonky antennas

    Talk to other people in far off lands using Morse code

    Study investing and here

    I bought my wife a BOSU ball for her bday She bought me Kettle Bells We be huffin’ and sweatin’ with each other out in our gym.

    Always gotta practice some Clapton licks or maybe a little JW . Check this one out! She’s just a player hawking Dame guitars. Might as well put my junk in the closet.

    Plus hang out with my kids when they’re home. It’s hard to keep ’em down on the farm.

    The variety of stuff to do is endless!

    • Clapton is God! (just quoting late 60s London graffiti). But seriously, I speaking of lists I tackled one of my bucket list this year and leaned my favorite songs from his unplugged album (I play acoustic blues).

        • That’s a sweet sound, thanks for sharing. Digging the harmony and acoustic sound. Little scared of the guy flashing his blade in the beginning.

          What do you play?

          Man I miss live music. Not much here in the upper Midwest. But we’ll be moving back to near New Orleans in 2 weeks. Can’t wait for some sound.

        • Yea that blade thing was flaky but the players are primo. They’re a southern biker bar band who have come into their own.

          I have a Parker Fly standard and a 1996 Gibson Howard Roberts Jazz Fusion III jazz/blues box. Plays like a ’60 LP with 10 lb. cajones. A line 6 effects setup and an Ampeg Reverborocket 212 1965 version. I like a clean sound and it’s hard to break up an Ampeg without blowing out your ear drums. The Stones in the 70’s used Ampegs, think Tumblin’ Dice “There’s fever’s in the funk house now!”

          My acoustics are a Yari Alverez I had custom built in the 70’s and a Taylor 816 I bought in the 90’s.

        • Oh man that 800 series Taylor prob looks/sounds nice. I play a 300series.

          Also American strat and PRS CE24 through a fender hot rod deville 4×10 although the amp is too loud and I’m looking for something softer. But the clean channel with that fender reverb…. Mmmmmmm

  5. I relate to this quite a bit. I like my job (radiology also), but I just want a better balance. I don’t like the feeling that the majority of my time is at work, and meanwhile, there are places to go and experiences to have that are slipping by. This is especially true with respect to kids. In a blog post called The Tail End, Tim Urban points out that 93 percent of your in-person time with your kids is over by the time they finish high school. Wow. Sobering thought since my oldest is just about to graduate.

    3 day week would be great. Better for me would be month on, month off (like PoF). Still scheming, but it doesn’t look like I can make a change for a few more years. Trying to be more proactive with my evenings and weekends, though.

    • That’s very insightful. I also don’t like that so much of my day is at work when there’s so much out there in the world other than work. Thanks for writing it out; I’ve never been able to verbalize it.
      And so much effort to make work happen; to bed early the night before, pack a lunch, work clothes buying/washing, meal plan of quick to cook meals to make dinner after work. Work would be better if it required less organizing around it.

    • I thought about the every other month schedule and knew a late career rad that pulled it off. It just did not fit with how we schedule, and I had to craft an arrangement that the group would approve.

      • I’m intrigued by locums, and there appears to be great demand currently, but there are some definite downsides (i.e. you’re either completely off or you’re completely on/away). Still, if it could set me loose . . . (starts to imagine large blocks of unencumbered time )

  6. Dude I love this idea! I didn’t think to create a bucket list exclusively for my weekends. I admit I do pack a lot of action into my days off work, but I like setting broader goals than “bake bread.”

  7. I can understand the draw to a photography course where you get out of your house and sit in a class, but Ken Rockwell, and his website will teach you more than a class ever would, and it’s free. The top lesson I learned was that the best camera you’ll ever have is the one you have with you.

    • Thank you for the suggestion. I will check it out.

      My local camera store has courses where you go to various sites with your cameras, and they work with you on your photography in the wild (or indoors).

      I do agree with your point about the camera, and I am not interested in purchasing any more equipment. My iPhone 8+ takes really great photos, and the step up in quality when I bring my “real” camera is hardly noticeable.

    • I read a lot on Ken Rockwell’s site when I had a Nikon DSLR setup. It was my go-to for lens information and reviews.

      I’ve since switched to an Olympus micro four thirds system. Due to the much lighter weight, I’m more likely to have it with me.


  8. Wow. Going to update my Retirement Bucket List.

    BTW, I just checked off #32 – “Enroll In A Spinning Class”. I’ve been going for 3 weeks. Absolutely. Love. Hate. It. Best workout ever.

    • Cool. I have thus far put off spinning, with lots of travel in the first part of the year and the distraction of considering buying and enrolling in the Peleton program. I need to get on this one.

  9. My things to do list and places to travel list gets bigger every week. Seems with each adventure, I find three more I’d like to do that I didn’t know about before. Yes, the state of “Caught Up” doesn’t exist. Just keep doing fun things throughout your life and in the end, even though you never finished the list, you will be satisfied in the effort.

    Life is a journey, not a destination.

    Dr. Cory S. Fawcett
    Prescription for Financial Success

    • So true. Failure will not be defined by not finishing off the list. Failure would be not being creative, energetic and inquisitive enough to not have a longer list next year!

  10. I've got my 2 acres of non-leveraged, crop-producing, cashflowing farmland via AcreTrader. Get yours.
  11. Paella is an amazing dish to make! I do it on a kettle grill over the coals, way more fun to do it outside when it is nice. This allows for more drinking as it is a time intensive process. I have a descent recipe and instructions if you are interested.

  12. This sounds like a terrific plan for your weekends! While I was going down the list, I was hoping to see “Start my own blog” would be one of them.

    Oh well, I guess I’ll have to settle for reading your guest posts and comments on other blogs :).

    • What a nice thing to say! 🙂

      While I have my own voice (and use it often), I have not yet found my message. If I can crystallize a message into something that has enough depth and needs to be said, I would be all for my own blog.

      In the mean time, I am enjoying guest blogging for my friends. I have a piece in the pipeline at Rogue Dad coming soon, a future blog here at PoF, and hopefully one by the end of the year at The Happy Philosopher.

  13. Breathe! You are going to burn out on this schedule, too. Best things I did when I “retired” was learn to say no and to go with the flow. Happy part-timing!

    • Thanks, Dr. Mom. That’s really good advice but unfortunately not my nature. I am enjoying diverting more of my energy to activities that are meaningful for me.

  14. About that 2nd to last crossed out one…I thought most FIRE seekers want to stay healthy to enjoy their retirement?
    Trust me I love naps, and dislike being poked and prodded, but I just get them out of the way. Seeing the dentist 4x a year instead of 2 helps me have fewer findings, so yes I get extra poking and prodding. A cleaning is less bothersome than scheduling for cavity fills or a root canal in the end.
    I have also found liking my doctors makes the visit seem like a 1x a year catch up session.
    I hope you have a great time in London and I’d be interested to see at the end of the year how many of these you checked off.

    • I am one for regular dental hygiene, but my experience has been that the more you go, the more dental work you have. Same with doctors visits.

      As a doc, I have a sense for what works in medical prevention (like colonoscopy), what is optional (PSA testing for men), and what is unnecessary (yearly blood work for a healthy person). I tend to do only what I feel is necessary, and this is a personal decision. I go for a “routine physical “ maybe twice per decade.

      While I am making progress on the list, there is still a lot to do. I am thinking that at tbe end of the year, I will all (or most) off the list and add more on 1/1/19, making it a living list, rather than a static one.

      • Vegabond MD, You must be seeing the wrong dentist. (perhaps one contracted with insurance) It does take ~12 weeks for microbes of periodontal disease to reinfect your gingiva. Even with ‘cleaning’ 4x/yr, We still only do our exam 2x/year. Jacq is right on, if you have a perio history or risk. Plus, catching dental diseases early leads to much more conservative treatment options. Just a reminder that periodontitis leads to chronic inflammation….. plaque from teeth makes its way to plaque in arteries…

        BTW: Great list!

  15. Spend more time with my 5 and a half year old (he insists the half part), hands down. After working as much as I do, i’m realizing that time is ticking away and there are certain moments you can’t get back.

  16. I love how a lot of your list is focused on other people (your daughter, the young doc, the burned out doc, your partners). I feel like I get so busy sometimes that I neglect people I really care about and would want to check in on had I more time.

    Good luck in obtaining all of these goals! Let us know how it’s going!


    • Thanks, so far it is going well. The list was a bit ambitious, but whenever I find myself bored, I can a,ways, at the very least, come up with an art lesson to learn.

  17. Great list. I need to start working on one too. Did you really injure yourself at the wci conference?
    I am doing two volunteer boards also. I have increased exercise and am doing some yard work that I had neglected. The increased time gets filled up. You just gave me the idea to take some classes at the Apple store.
    Relearning calculus and art history classes. Good ideas.


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