A Long View 
Wednesday, March 13, 2002
Suburbia, California 


Yesterday, a friend of many years, D, and I chatted at some length.  

We'd started our careers at about the same time, reveled in the excitement of the "wonder years" of our professional lives, and succeeded in our respective fields beyond our wildest dreams in large part due to our sheer determination, dedication and will, strong work ethic, and willingness to work long, hard hours. 

We've also put up with the day-to-day interruptions, irritations and hassles of running busy offices and endured betrayals and thefts by associates and staff.  Recently, an associate he'd hired to take on his overflow clients took off with his office manager, who D had invested much of  his time and effort to personally train.  While I've not experienced anything quite as egregious as this, I've known that pain of disappointment when let down by those I've put my trust and confidence in.

Over the years, we've rejoiced and commiserated together.  We've been the other's sounding board, openly discussing our growing disillusionment over the impact of managed care and HMOs and the limits placed on quality care by them, specifically, the fact that those systems reward doctors who see more and more patients with shorter and shorter appointments, doing less and less for each.  

He expressed many of the concerns that I had dealt with a few years ago: a vague discontent; a certain ennui with things, people and concerns that had hitherto held great interest; a sense of  feeling adventurous and wanting to do something completely different (To my surprise, he said, "Maybe go to law school.") and a basic uncertainty about where his life is going.

He says he'd like to follow the footsteps I'd taken in my career:  A pause.  A detour. A re-direction. And a restructuring of my time. 

A few years ago, I had limited my clientele, hired associates to help me with my overload, and concentrated my efforts on fighting on the front line for what I believed in with all my heart -- quality, conscientious care -- and informing and protecting my clients and others with facts, not hype.  I also carved out time to be able to give back. Now, having won a few battles and inevitably, in time, the war, and balanced myself with world and local community work and involvement, I am happy again

D says he's ready to hop off the grueling work treadmill, reassess his life goals, slow down, and try to regain his joy of living. I had no real answers or roadmap for him, but I offered a good listening ear.  I suggested that perhaps it was time to consider the dictum, "Doctor, heal thyself."

I pointed out to him that, single and without children, he was unshackled compared to his peers.  He had choices he could make.  He could retake authority of his life with relative ease.

"You know, you're right.  So many of my peers hate what they're doing any more.  It's not what they got into health care to do, but they're stuck," he said, nodding. "I just had a med school friend, a pediatrician, and his family visiting me from San Francisco.  He's burned out, but he has two children to put through college.  His first son's hoping to go to USC next fall, and the tuition alone is $36,000 a year.  He doesn't know how he's going to do it."

"You have the spirit, stamina and youthfulness to climb even higher mountains, D," I said.  I could see that he knew that what I said was absolutely true. Unabashedly, I let D know that he was looking great, although a bit dispirited. Practicing what he preaches, including taking good care of himself, has paid off for D. He looks at least 10-15 years younger than his years.  

Half serious, half in jest, I suggested, "If you're thinking of going into law, consider helping those with Lasik surgery complications who have been wronged by docs who mislead them, taking the easy way to riches. They need all the help they can get from honest and caring attorneys who will help them put their ruined lives back together.  Think about it, D."  

Maybe, he will.  And maybe there's something else right over the horizon.  

In short, D's going through a mid-life transition. No, not crisis.  Simply, a transition. These issues and conflicts are arising because he's being true to himself, his spirit.  Those who've lost touch with their souls along the way sell out to meaningless, unfulfilled lives. I dare to believe that D is discovering hidden aspects of his true self that will take him to his greatness.

Bottom line:  I like D immensely. He's a good man. I want him happy again.  I want him to once more be challenged and enthusiastic. I want D to be who he was meant to be.

A late evening arrival in my Inbox from B for Belle.  Sweet dreams are made of these...

Dear AU & DH,

Thank you for your positive thoughts and prayers. They mean a lot to me. 

You are the older sibs I wished I had. You have always been there for me and I will never forget your kindness and love. 

I best be getting to bed...but these are my thoughts of you both today. 

AU, thanks for finding us at lunch today. You
are ALWAYS welcome at my table! I also enjoyed your journal. Your photo reminds me of a picture I have of a little girl and her dog... in the Andes with your shawl blowing in the wind.

DH,  I enjoy the way you smile and the way your eyes crinkle at the corners. It's good to hear you laugh.

Sweet Dreams,

"Love of others is carrying them in our hearts, 
carrying their miseries, their difficulties, their struggles." 

~ Fr. M.D. Philippe

"Life is a Gift."

Me ke Aloha, 
Author Unknown

 "The only gift is a portion of thyself..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson


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This web journal was created on a September Morn, 
September 29, 2001
September Morn 2002