New Year’s Day! Happiness and Change

Day 1 of 2013 seems like a good day to get back on the wagon.  The day is symbolic.  Everyone feels that the first day of the year is a day of new beginnings.  It’s a day to reflect on the past year, or the years leading to this one, if you will.  This time last year, I sat snuggled with a newborn struggling to decide how to leave her to head back to work.  I was an intern struggling to learn to become a physician.  I was a wife struggling to find a balance betwquote-seuss-reflection-copyrightableeen life and work.  How do you find that balance when life is work?  When work is life?  The answer is in reflection.  Over the past year, I have met an innumerable variety of characters that have discouraged and encouraged.  One patient today, yes on New Years day, on a home visit no less, reminded me that I am not in control.  He told me a story of two soldiers reunited after many years.  One saved by spending an afternoon in friendship, rather than a volunteer flight that was doomed to not return.  The patient reflecting on his life in the service, on his years with his wife, now passed, and his relationship with his doctor reminded me why I chose this life for me and mine.  Though I have struggled over the year, with my many hats and responsibilities, I have grown.  I have changed.  “All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves.1  I mourn the losses of 2012, as I begin 2013.  And I fondly remember my sweet baby as a little lump that is now running after her older sisters with confident steps. I hope to emulate that confidence over the next year.  This time next year, I will be reflecting back on this time – the midway point of residency – and I wonder who I will have become.  “Some succeed because they are destined to; most succeed because they are determined to.”1

1Anatole France


My last thoughts are not my own, but of author unknown.  But on the first day of a new year, it’s important to remember what matters!

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with stones. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the stones. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’
The professor then produced two beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.  The students laughed.
‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The stones are the important things—-your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—-and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else—-the small stuff.
‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the stones. The same goes for life.
If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Skip stones across the water. There will always be time to clean the house and dictate charts.
Take care of the stones first—-the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’ The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers with a friend.

Who knows, those beers may save your life…or your friends.


2012 favorites in no particular order:  painting so many fingers and toes, making snowmen, pasta ornaments, watching the circus with Kate for the first time, learning to crawl and walk, learning so many new words, tailgating for birthdays, Halloween E2 style, reading, delivering my first continuity, champagne taps, family weekends, no-hitter call nights, eating Kansas city BBQ, surviving recruitment season in the same size pants, making a perfect Christmas dinner, using a glide scope, snuggling, pajama days

One Response to "New Year’s Day! Happiness and Change"

  • Oh, what a year this will be 🙂 My plan is to hush. To settle back and live life, not rush through it. Can we trade wine for beers? If you’ll just give me a couple of weeks, I’ll be there with you!

    1 Mariah said this (January 1, 2013 at 11:53 pm) Reply

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