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BLOG: Birthdays and retirement

April 20, 2022

2 minute read


Biography/Disclosures


Biography: Aldasouqi is a professor of medicine and head of the division of endocrinology at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine in East Lansing.


Disclosures: Aldasouqi reports that he is a consultant for Abbott Diagnostics.


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April is such a special month of the year for me for several reasons.

Well, you guessed it right; it must be my birth month. Admittedly, April was my birth month, several months ago, 756 months, to be exact – my birthday being (today), April 20th.


Retirement letter from Dr. Saleh Aldasouqi
Figure 1. Photo credit Saleh Aldasouqi.

Perhaps a birthday is not a real milestone for an individual simply because a birthday occurs every year. But some birthdays can be considered a milestone birthday, for example, a 60th birthday.

Saleh Aldasouqi

This month of April marks a milestone for me, a milestone in my career. In April, I became eligible for retirement from Michigan State University. Last August, I received the dean’s standard notification letter announcing my retirement eligibility (Figure). Do I feel too old? Is it time to retire? I am not sure. It’s a bittersweet feeling!

To be clear, this retirement is what is called early retirement under MSU regulations, at age 62, once an individual has accrued the required years of service. Does it make me feel better? I don’t feel like I’m getting old? I do not know.

Retirement notification letters from deans are common in academia. They usually don’t involve a university asking a faculty member to retire and leave — I hope. And clearly, each individual knows that he is approaching retirement. A retirement age of 65-70 has become the norm or 55 in some jobs/careers. In my case, I have been thinking about this important step for a few years.

So in April I completed 15 years of service at MSU. What do I intend to do? That’s another story for another day.

But I don’t plan to retire at that eligibility threshold. Interestingly, based on personal observations, a good majority of physicians almost never retire early, if at all. I have seen colleagues still working, often full time, until they are 80 years old. It seems that for doctors, medicine “runs in the blood”. I always have discussions with my patients from all walks of life about retirement. I’ve always admired those who retire in their 50s, like auto workers and teachers. It seems most of them have never regretted retiring, enjoying life after retirement.

There are other special things about April in our family.

April 20 is not just my birthday in our family. My youngest daughter, Malak, happened to be born on the same day, April 20.

Malak was a special heavenly birthday present for my 39th birthday. She was also heavenly compensation after we lost her older sister, Jinan.

The funniest thing about Malak’s shared birthday is what happened 3 weeks after he was born. We had planned a trip to Jordan that summer, so we had to get a passport for Malak. I went to the post office and filled out the passport application. After about half an hour, a woman from the post office called me. She said, “Sir, you made a mistake in the passport application. You wrote his date of birth as 04/20/1959. I laughed at myself. I explained why I might need time to learn to write 04/20/1998.

Not only is April 20 my and my daughter’s birthday, but my grandson, Mohammed, was supposed to have the same birthday, but he didn’t. Mohammed was due to be born on April 20, 2019, but he chose to be born a week later, on April 27.

So you see how April is such a special month in our family.