MAS Members' remarkable lives – Midlife crisis leads to new career
By MAS Team | 18 February 2020
Professionals across the country are proving that you can have creative side hustles as writers, playwrights and artists no matter what line of work you do and how busy you are. Some of them are spending their evenings and long weekends writing novels that draw on personal experiences from their careers, while others have taken the bold step to split their time between their medical career and a more creative one in the art world.
Here is Andrew's story.
An epiphany at a midlife crisis-themed dress-up party propelled doctor Andrew Corin into a new career as a writer.
Andrew is a primary care specialist based in Tauranga, a career he has been in since 1996, while also running a primary care-based clinical research unit. He had dabbled in writing as a side project, from travel stories to short fiction, but this year he decided to take writing seriously.
"My wife Kathy and I had a party a few years ago, and the theme was 'midlife crisis'. I dressed up as a writer, and it actually made me stop and think," he says.
After his revelation at the party, he decided to enrol in some creative writing papers at Massey University. He completed the papers in his spare time, finding it surprisingly easy to squeeze in study on top of his already overflowing schedule.
"I'm an exceptionally busy person. I work as a GP, I do clinical research, I sit on a couple of advisory boards and local boards, I have a small avocado orchard and a family.
"It's challenging to find time to do other things. I know that most of my colleagues feel emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted at the end of the day – myself included."
Despite his heavy workload, he found it surprisingly easy to pick up extra study during weekends and evenings.
"As soon as I sat down to do it, I engaged a part of my brain that had a lot of capacity – the energy and enthusiasm came easily. I was giving space to an aspect of myself that hadn't been exhausted and was waiting for an opportunity to express itself," he says.
This year, Andrew has published This Old Stick, his first collection of short fiction. The book honours older people through telling their stories – a theme that has emerged from his work as a primary care specialist. He draws on his past experiences with older patients, though the stories are works of fiction.
"There really is an art to what we do in medicine, learning to embrace the artistic side of our profession. Writing This Old Stick was a way of me embracing that side of my job and giving myself some personal satisfaction and a social mission – around valuing the elderly in our communities," he says.
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