Dr. Robin Serrahn

Chapter Two: Work or Retire?

Chapter Two illustrates by the year 2030, workers over the age of 55 are set to equal one-quarter of the global labor force. One study predicts that 150 million jobs worldwide will shift to that age group – a number almost equal to the entire working population of the U.S. today.

I am thrilled to be participating in the global collaborative project, 1 in 6 by 2030, alongside renowned photojournalists. Recent photo essays include Chapter One: 72, Jude Thilman: "A Life of Activism", Chapter Two: Work or Retire?, Rabbi Margaret Holub: "Being of Service" and Dr. Robin Serrahn: "What does work require of me now?".

This project is a natural extension of my lifestyle photography which documents every day, real life moments.  If there's someone in your life whom you would like to celebrate through a photo essay, I invite you to start a conversation with me.

"What does life require of me now?"

Dr. Robin Serrahn

Growing up, Dr. Robin Serrahn gravitated towards the outdoors. As a Boy Scout, service projects were crucial for advancement, teaching him responsibility and fostering a bond with nature. From Boy Scouts to Mendocino, nature has always been his passion. Living among redwoods deepened his connection with the environment.

Dr. Serrahn loves dirt. He enjoys getting his hands dirty, and gardening has become a way for him to work with the seasons of nature and feel deeply connected to the world around him. Creation is a living presence that invites him to actively participate in its processes and behold its majesty.

Service to a cause greater than oneself resonates deeply within the Judeo-Christian ethic. After graduating, he embarked on a transformative journey to Haiti as a medical volunteer. Witnessing a degree of suffering was a pivotal moment that affirmed his commitment to serving humanity and embracing the interconnectedness of all life. Victor Frankl's poignant question, "What does life require of me now?" has been a guiding force in Dr. Serrahn's journey. For him, the answer has always been clear: to serve as a physician. His initial experiences in Haiti, where he witnessed firsthand the urgent need for medical care and compassion, reaffirmed his commitment to serving humanity.

In San Francisco, he dedicated 12 years to Saint Anthony Free Medical Clinic. Subsequently, he spent 15 years working at the HIV clinic at SFGH. Currently, he works in the ER along the Mendocino Coast and will soon transition into the role of hospice physician—a vital service where access to healthcare remains limited. Rural America is underserved. Growing up in a materialist culture, where all that exists is matter and molecules, spirit was relegated to an ignored corner. At 21, a spiritual awakening transformed his perception of the world, leading him to recognize the limitations of his materialist upbringing.

Why did you retire or why are you still working?

Lieben und Arbeiten: Love and Work

"When Freud was asked what makes for a healthy person, he said “to love and to work.” At 69, I remain dedicated to my work, finding profound meaning in collaboration with like-minded individuals striving toward shared goals. This depth of significance transcends material pursuits. Listening with empathy and understanding, whether to colleagues or patients, embodies an act of love that transcends the self. The words attributed to Jesus, "he who seeks himself shall lose himself and he who loses himself shall find himself," have resonated with me deeply, underscoring the truth that true fulfillment stems from acts of compassion towards others. Nonetheless I am aware of an ineffable presence when one sees, respects and listens to another person. This is what I think Martin Buber is describing as an I-Thou relationship—a sacred encounter characterized by mystery and an exquisite sense of not knowing."