For the better part of my life, I have always been able to compartmentalize various events that occurred, whether they were good or bad. This has served me well over the years as a physician and chiropractor. For the better part of 35 years, I have dealt with both the best of human nature and the exact opposite, as I’ve sought to help every individual that presented themselves for care.
This ability to be in a situation but not of it has also served me well in my private life as I have navigated through numerous trials and tribulations that occur as a natural outworking of life. I have even congratulated myself on my ability to move on from hardship, or to see beyond or through the negative circumstance that would appear to be standing in my way. I have always considered it to be one of my strongest attributes.
That is until recently, when I began to realize that the consequence of not allowing things to affect you negatively, also prevents the experience of situations that bring the most joy. I have not had a lot of success when I have ventured out beyond misery. I’ve believed that for every wonderful joyous moment there will be a corresponding one of despair. Like my body, my heart can no longer stand the extremes. I am running out of body parts for the well-intention-ed doctors to replace. So instead I have lived in the gray areas, where joy and despair are mitigated to an average experience. I have lived a colorful life but avoided the extremes of emotional color that would seek to tear me apart from the inside out.
By not allowing the worst things to affect me, I have also not allowed the best to do so either. It is with some grim realization that after all this time and at this late date in my life that perhaps I have spared myself the wrong feelings at the expense of also avoiding the emotional entanglements into those deeply rich experiences that balance the pendulum of life.
As I said, I have only come to that realization recently when the sheer number of negative insults have overwhelmed my well-practiced ability to be unaffected. There is so much more to life that merely surviving it, and attempting to meter the experience has a cost.
For the last 35 years I have had the privilege of working as a primary care physician. I have loved almost every minute of that time, it has been the vocation of my dreams. Now as I leave that life behind, I remember back to the victories that my patients achieved, and the heartbreaks. I recall their sincerity, their joy and their sorrow and I give great thanks that I was allowed to be there for it.
In leaving that life behind me, I step through the doorway of a new endeavor and a new experience with anticipation. I’m looking forward to seeing and experiencing a life of color and texture and hope. Thankfulness in all things.