Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

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Archive for August, 2020

Ghost Town: Sunday musings…8/23/2020

He sees my face. There’s a faint glimmer of recognition. You can tell he knows he should know who I am. Still, nothing until I tell him.

I am just another ghost floating through a ghost town. Drifting among the ghosts of my past. Some, like the guy still here in the present day flesh, yet a ghost nonetheless. Time has been reasonably kind to each of us; I can see his ghost in high school as we exchange pleasantries about our mothers.

The houses are haunted. Not just ours, or rather the house that was once ours. It’s all I can do to walk by, to not just walk up the driveway and through the door on the farmer’s porch of my house. No, each of the houses is as occupied by the ghosts of the owners it had as mine is of ours. There’s the Licht house, right next door to the Wilson’s. That stone wall between our house and the Dehimer’s still just looks wrong, even 20 years after it was built. And wait…I thought Barbara moved to South County. You mean those skinny boys chasing around the yard between our houses are NOT hers?

Two little boys, the ghosts of neighbors long past.

Just before I turn the corner I pass the Dunn’s house. It’s funny, that house must hold some sort of power over its owner, or perhaps that’s just Mr. Dunn’s ghost compelling whoever lives there to obsess over the lawn. That house has always had the best grass in town, better than even the greens on the golf course in our back yard. As I walk by I can hear the sound of balls bouncing and sneakers shuffling in the gravel. I swear I see the shadow of Maureen’s hoop right there under my feet as I walk by, but alas it, too, is just a ghost.

Just a skosch longer than 5 years ago my Dad’s ghost visited as I sat on his porch under the trees watching his club mates climb the 14th fairway. Like the citizens of Brigadoon he drifted into view and stuck around for an hour or so. It was magical to have him there, all of him, the Dad I’d known, sitting there with me, chuckling at the golfers who misread the wind and plunked their second shots into our back yard. His stay was altogether too short; the mist reclaimed him after a while and returned him to whatever Brigadoon houses such spirits.

My walk brought me to the church of my youth. It was open so I sat in the very last pew for just a bit, spending a few moments with the ghosts of parishioners I’d known. It’s a tiny church, tinier than I remembered. Probably because of all the ghosts there with me. My sisters were both married there. What fun those weddings were! All of the guests were there with me today. Mom and Dad looked great. I could swear that was Father Ethier on the altar, smiling.

Dad is buried in the parish cemetery in back of the church. Established 1896. I never noticed the sign before. To no surprise I mingle with lots of ghosts on my way back to his grave. He was back there, waiting for me. Four flags surrounded his gravestone, one for each of us. There were a bunch of golf balls on the ridge at the base of the stone, all Titleist 8’s. Later in life Dad always played Titleist 8’s. My vision got kinda blurry all of a sudden so I took a seat in the grass, leaned my head against his gravestone, and just relaxed for a few minutes as my Dad’s ghost settled in next to me. I think I stayed there for quite some time.

So many ghosts. I walked along in the company of my own ghosts from the days when I called this town home. Those were happy days; my companions were happy ghosts. As I walked on my ghostly fellow travelers fell away leaving me alone as my little tour brought me back to the ghosts awaiting, the many ghosts of my Mom watching over her as she napped while I walked. Too many to describe, all there patiently waiting for her to wake up from the nap she’s taken nearly every afternoon for 65 years. They are there. She is there.

And so here I am in a ghost town. Mostly me, but part the ghost of the boy who used to be. Ministering to a Mom who I desperately want to still be mostly my Mom, as the ghosts settle in around us.

Experience: Sunday musings…8/16/2020

1) Ruffle. It’s perfectly OK to ruffle dirty feathers.

2) Auditioning. “Auditioning is like stripping without the money.” Jim Gaffigan.

Most of anything like an audition I’ve had over the last 20 years has happened without me being aware of it. Kinda the opposite of standing on stage and imagining your whole audience is naked. The ambush audition is like discovering that it was YOU who was naked.

3) Shields. It makes me wonder why face shields haven’t gotten more play as safety devices for school kids, especially K-8 or so. Even more perplexing is the directive yesterday from the CDC that there is “insufficient evidence” that they are protective. Meh, the evidence from real, honest to goodness study is paper thin for masks of all sorts that are short of N95 respirators.

Socialization is a key component of early childhood schooling. Indeed, it may be an even more important aspect to high school. It certainly leads to more emotionally healthy teenagers it seems. Seeing the entire face of your age peers, and that of your teacher, is an important part of learning how to occupy your place in society. Why have face shields been so readily disregarded as an option?

4) Experience. “Experience is the best teacher, but the tuition is high.” -Anon

This came across my line of sight around the time someone asked me about an ophthalmic surgeon’s operating peak, like an athletes peak or prime years. Like so many other things there is a confluence of factors that combine to create such a peak. While your hands, your vision, and your physical stamina are considerably higher in your 20’s or your 30’s, the true peak for an eye surgeon comes after 8-12 years of operating, depending on the number of cases you fit into each year. At this point you’ve mostly mastered the mechanics of your procedures. This, combined with the wisdom hopefully garnered by the mistakes you made over those 8-12 years, combines talent, practice, and more importantly the experience that allows you to apply the first two.

The tuition the anonymous author refers to is the anguish that accompanies the learning that accrues from both mistakes and from difficult situations that arise even when you haven’t deviated from known best practices.

I’m hard pressed to think of any aspect of life that can’t be viewed through the same prism. Think of the fine balance between the skillset of a modern NFL quarterback and the knowledge of the game that can only come from taking thousands of snaps under game time pressure. Or a front line, sharp end of the spear first responder like a police officer or warfighter approaching a dodgy situation in the field. The hard-earned experience of prior engagements will carry the veteran to a win even when he/she has started to experience a decline in physical skill. Even less martial examples, leading a salesforce for example, prove the principal. Woe be to that manager who continually makes the same mistake when deploying their people into the field.

It’s fascinating to look at purely intellectual pursuits through the lens of experience. Authors and academicians are certainly not physically taxed the way that athletes, peace officers, or even surgeons are. Yet rare is the person in these more cerebral fields who doesn’t get better at what they do with time and experience. Where the athlete or the surgeon may eventually break down physically to a point where no experience will carry them further, the intellectual can continue as long as they don’t lose their ability to think. Indeed, like the stiffening of joints in the active pursuits, failing to learn from experiences as they age leads to an ossification of thought, an inflexibility that hinders further learning. Here, too, the metaphor is apt.

There is, of course, a point of diminishing gains as one piles on the experiences. Not that one can’t continue to learn. More that the increments of learning garnered from new experiences, or more specifically their effects on the forward-going performance of the learner, necessarily shrink over time. An eye surgeon, for example, can remain in their operating prime (absent illness) well into their 60’s and even beyond. At a certain point experiencing something new and different is such a rare event that it brings equal parts shock and pleasure.

But the unknown sage who first uttered the words above was doubtless not talking about the crusty old surgeon or academic. No, he or she was almost certainly speaking to a much younger audience, and perhaps if they are very young themselves, the parents of that audience. In the pursuit of living making a mistake is only failure if it does not lead to learning. Failure need only be temporary if it is used as the springboard to the next experience, and the next, and the next.

Tuition charged by experience is most expensive when what is taught remains unlearned.

I’ll see you next week…

The American Dream Part 3: A Critical Review of the Georgetown Study Shows Academic Achievement is Still Key

A few weeks ago a study from Georgetown University was published that purports to show that access to the American Dream lies through existing family wealth and not academic achievement https://1gyhoq479ufd3yna29x7ubjn-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/FR-Born_to_win-schooled_to_lose.pdf . On first glance their conclusion seems to have some merit. For example, children in the lowest socioeconomic quartile of socioeconomic status (SES) who score highest in 10th grade math are less likely to end up in the upper half of SES than 10th graders who begin in the upper half and score lowest in 10th grade math. In other words high achievers from low SES are less likely to rise economically than low achievers from high SES are to remain at the higher SES where they began.

My initial reaction to this finding (prior to reading the full study) was to accept the conclusion at face value for the years studied (2002-2018). While doing so it seemed plain to me that, if true, this represented a substantial change in how today’s young participated in the American Dream in contrast to Americans born during the Depression and, subsequently, their children. If true it seemed to me that there had to be a tipping point, a point in time where participating in the American Dream and rising economically through academic achievement was no longer the prevailing route to success.

My supposition, where once academic achievement was more important than SES and then at some time “flipped”, was met with varying degrees of derision and scorn on the social media platform on which I originally encountered the study. I decided to more deeply investigate the study by looking at the American Dream over time. In Part one of this series I told the story of my Dad’s rise from poverty: The Cardboard in the Shoes Kid. My father rose where his siblings and most peers did not through access to college afforded by scholarships and the GI Bill. Part 2 was my story and that of my peers, as well as a re-telling of Gen X Senator Tim Scott’s American Dream success. In the absence of comparable studies that examined earlier times in U.S. history I sought first to demonstrate that, at least through prevalent oral history, academic achievement was an integral part of the American Dream prior to 2002.

As I started to organize my thoughts for this analysis I met a fascinating gentleman with a very helpful perspective regarding Baby Boomers. Our discussion prompted me to be a bit more skeptical about my assumptions. Bruce M. is an African American who recently retired as a very senior executive in the banking industry. His journey began much like my Dad’s with an athletic scholarship followed by grad school. I explained my issue with the study, its conclusion, and the near universal opinions on social media that childhood SES has always mattered more than academic achievement. After sharing my anecdotal analysis and noting how his own journey fit my hypothesis he offered the opinion that perhaps I had done nothing other than identify outliers, the extraordinary.

One of the classic biases introduced in research based on anecdote is that the researcher only finds stories that fit their hypothesis. In Part 2 I explicitly acknowledge this. Bruce M.’s perspective made me wonder if I was correct in my assumption but perhaps not quite as correct as I’d thought. Perhaps the “flipping point” was actually much earlier in time, much closer to 1960 than 1980.

So I did what I always do, and teach others to do, when engaging in these types of inquires: I returned to the source material to review the definitions that were used to determine what was being studied. Here, at the most basic level, the authors are studying the impact of pre-existing wealth (or its absence) and academic achievement (as measured by math scores in 10th grade) on achieving the American Dream. My reevaluation of their premises shows that their definition of the American Dream appears to be at odds with how most people understand it: simply being in the upper half of SES strata within 10 years of college graduation. What directed my inquiry and led me to decide that their ultimate conclusion does not seem to apply to earlier times is the more commonly understood definition of the American Dream: to RISE into a higher SES than that of your upbringing. Indeed, I would hazard a guess that most Americans would not consider simply maintaining the SES of your youth being the American Dream.

Rather, the opposite likely stands, that falling out of the SES of your upbringing would be considered a substantial marker of failure.

Defining the American Dream in this more conventional way alters the sensational “headline” conclusion of the Georgetown study. While this makes it much less attractive as “click bait” on social media it is my opinion that it actually makes it a more important study. When one seeks data to support substantive societal changes that expand access to this truer iteration of the American Dream, the studies findings actually point the way. While doing so it makes me wrong: it is likely that the influence of family wealth has always been a very strong marker to predict eventual occupation of a slot in the upper SES, the precise interpretation of the study data. It also makes me very right: rising to that new, higher SES, the true definition of the American Dream, is driven by academic achievement. Let’s look a bit closer at the details of the study through this more culturally accurate lens.

Much is made of the finding that low SES students with above average math scores have a lower chance of rising into the top half of SES than high SES students with low math scores have of remaining in that top half. While we see fewer high achievers in the high SES segment falling out of the top 50% than low achievers, we do not have any data for the converse, high achievers who rise still higher within that top SES segment. Is it possible that even in the highest quartile, that academic achievement is a stronger factor predicting a rise in SES? Even families in the top 5% SES hope and plan for their children to rise into a higher segment.

Defining the American Dream as simply occupying a space in the top 50%, or even the top 25% SES, is a radical departure from what is regularly quoted as the American Dream. Whether you are native born or an immigrant to the U.S., the American Dream is one of economic rise. Therein lies the essential problem with the Georgetown study and its flashy title (“Born to Win; Schooled to lose). Since SES is essentially a Bell Curve someone in a higher SES must drop lower in order for someone in a lower SES to rise. Occupancy is a term of stasis; the American Dream is a term that implies movement, specifically upward movement.

Why is this important? Why gild this lily so completely? The authors clearly wish to cast aspersions on what they presume are the unfair tactics that upper SES families use to help their offspring remain in the SES of their birth, regardless of academic achievement (a proxy presumably for merit). Thus, the emphasis on the “staying power” of the lower achievers in upper SES. Yet such a conclusion has no chance of effecting change. How does one prevent a parent from doing whatever it takes to support their child? There is no measure of movement within that top half and therefore no way to measure the effect of academic achievement within smaller bands. There is no way to create policy or make recommendations that would assist young people in lower SES quartiles based on the authors’ conclusion.

Happily, the true finding of this study is precisely the opposite of what they conclude, and most assuredly the opposite of their splashy click-bait title: the most direct route to achieve the American Dream, to rise economically, is precisely through academic achievement. While I think my new acquaintance Bruce M. is partly correct, that I simply identified the outstanding in Parts 1 and 2, I believe he is also as fundamentally incorrect as are the authors of the study. The outstanding rose. Like him, and my father and Senator Scott, the outstanding rose economically by utilizing their academic achievement. The American Dream is about rising up economically.

More importantly, if you come to this conclusion, that the study actually shows that upward movement is the result of academic achievement, you create a very strong case for change in how we educate our young. There is an especially strong case for how we educate the young who are born into the lower half of SES. The study shows that there is a significant drop off in performance or progress at both points where math aptitude is measured. At these pivotal points further achievement (continued excellence in the 10th grade, attendance in college, college graduation) is derailed. After demonstrating that academic achievement is the key, THIS is the real finding.

The derailment of academic achievement simply cries out for investigation to determine WHY this happens, followed by HOW it can be prevented.

Finding that existing family wealth protects the children of the better off from occupying a lower SES later in life than academic achievement is a non-actionable finding. The kids themselves would likely shrug: “Duh”. What this study actually shows is that my muse, the economist from Harvard, need not be so concerned about the country his daughter will grow up in. She will be surrounded by acquaintances who have risen from lower SES through academic achievement as was shown in the study. How many rise will depend in part on a more enlightened and opportunistic re-evaluation of the data affirming that academic achievement continues to be the vehicle that drives the true American Dream.

Those who are born to rise are derailed by our educational system, not our economic one. This is the true finding of the Georgetown study. This finding is amenable to action.


1. Incandescenceness. Something more than incandescence. Maybe the essence of incandescence. Heard at a horse shoe.

Should be a word.

2. Distance. Same horse show. Only 2 people allowed around the ring for each horse, one of which is the rider. Mind you, horse show. Outdoors. Everyone masked. 100+ acre property and 50M ring.

How do I know? Got spanked for too many “followers” at one ride while distancing 6 METERS.

3. Era. As in beginning of a new one. Beth is a competitive rider again! This weekend for the first time in 6 years we went to a horse show and Beth rode. Did pretty darned well, too! On the one year anniversary of our big boy Hero arriving from Spain he is finally healthy enough, and he and Beth have worked together enough, to enter the ring.

As I’ve said for a couple of decades now, it is nothing short of thrilling to see someone doing something that they love. To see someone engaged in something that they are passionate about. Brava Dollie!

4. Era. As in the end of an era. The end came not for any personal reasons. Not for any inconvenience or lack of interest. What broke our 28 year win streak of gathering this week on Cape Cod was how daunting it was going to be for us all to travel from our respective homes during this pandemic time in order to be there. That, and the amount of anxiety that my Mom was experiencing just thinking about the process.

It’s sad for a million reasons, some big and others small. In a funny way this could have been one of the biggest groups in recent years with so many of the grandchildren (our kids) working from home. Heck, they could have worked half days and not even had to use up a whole week of time off. Yes, yes, we’ve been plagued by spotty internet access over the years and “work” from the Cape would have posed a challenge if this remained the case. Still, there was a little buzz about this lockdown thing actually making for a better trip.

T’was not to be.

So here I am at a horse show, actually thrilled to be here, but kinda bummed nonetheless. I mean, as a family, a significant group had made it to the same house on the same beach for 28 uninterrupted years. Two years ago we had babies on the beach for the first time in 14 years. There were even a couple of changes in “traditions”; with only a few of us still there on Friday the last couple of years we opted out of pizza in favor of lobster meat and a big, buttery chardonnay (our traditions evolved in a very positive way).

And yet as sad as I am about not being on the beach, what I really am is filled with gratitude for all of the years we DID get. In year one we all crammed into one house, one bedroom assigned to each little family. Our caboose, Randy, was 6 weeks old. Man, I sure wish I could find the iconic picture of him with our Sunday night dinner, dwarfed as he was by a 15 lb. lobster. There were only 6 grandchildren that first year. One of the beautiful things about Cape week was how it allowed our eventual squad of 10 cousins to get to know each other despite the fact that none of my generation ever lived within easy visiting distance from one another until my youngest sister moved to Connecticut. Randy and his close-in-age cousins Darric and Tim forged a lifetime friendship from their days together on the beach.

Births, marriage proposals, weddings and sadly deaths were all a part of our Cape Cod lives. We kept our trip alive through illnesses in the oldest and youngest generations. Through high school and college graduations, job changes, and major moves. Some time around year 4 or 5 we just got too big to fit into a single house and spread into one of the next door cottages. Pretty much every waking moment was still spent either in the “Cape House” or on the beach. Like a bunch of 6 year olds playing soccer we moved through the week as one.

I am so very grateful that my son-in-law and both of my daughters-in-law got to experience “our” beach. Two of my soon to be five grandchildren got to play in the same sand that all 10 cousins did. Will we head back when times are simpler so that our other three babies will build sandcastles and chase hermit crabs in their parents footprints? Ah, who knows? For today I am happy that so much more of our family can say they were “on the Cape”.

All things come to an end, and we never know just how or just when that will happen. Our streak is over, felled not by any internal family decision but by a pandemic. Perhaps that is fitting, that such a monumental family institution could only be interrupted by a phenomenon that has literally bought the globe to a standstill. Will we return? Return to our little slice of Cape Cod, a place we came to be welcomed as if we were “locals”, so long had we been coming? We shall see. There are other changes, other transitions yet to come.

For now, for today, I am sad that I am not writing this as I travel home from Cape Week. But I am now and forever grateful beyond words that my own family beach journey, begun in Mannesquan with Gamma and Gramp, spanned so very many years, from being the baby on the beach myself to welcoming two more generations of babies to join me. For today it is enough that I had that journey. Like so many waves we body surfed, it’s been a great ride.

I can almost feel the grains of sand between my lips from my last farewell kiss.

I’ll see you next week…

Passages: Sunday musings…8/2/2020

“I don’t think you’re doing this hobby thing right Dr. White.” –Concerned Patient in office last week.

Author Gail Sheehy is most famous for her earliest work, notably “Passages”, in which she chronicled what she viewed as typical life stages for American men and women. Our family has always been a bit more interested in her work since she went to college with my parents; all three graduated from the University of Vermont in 1958. I read “Passages” in a psych class at Williams. The professor led our discussion with a disclaimer that Ms. Sheehy had been accused of plagiarism in some of the relevant work making me somewhat skeptical. My Mom was a bit salty about Ms. Sheehy’s body of work until very recent years. She felt that there was a consistent thread of disrespect for women who made a conscious decision to stay home and raise their children rather than enter the “work world”.

As you know from my recent stuff I have been spending an inordinate amount of time in the space between my own ears. With our various lockdowns and social distancing efforts it’s been harder to get out, both literally outdoors and figuratively outside of my own head. My little Aussie is not much on conversation when we walk. Even my daily sojourn exploring the migratory patterns of the local dog population through the wonder of her nose has been spent largely in the company of my own thoughts. Kinda like if your brainspace was not only accessible in your favorite chair but also in a mobile home.

Dangerous ground, that space.

While not therapy in the strictest sense, writing for me has nonetheless been somewhat therapeutic over the years. Rather than continually rehashing challenging events or ideas, writing about them has more often than not allowed me to disgorge them from my “internal hard drive” and move on. Writing has opened up room for new ideas or the time to work through a new challenge. Some of those challenges over the years have been so common, shared whether I knew it or not with nearly everyone my age with a similar upbringing, that they ended up in the work of pop psychologists like Gail Sheehy.

By and large, with the exception of my challenging journey to turning 50 (The Hard Turn at Mile Marker 49), all of my passages have flowed rather seamlessly from prior to next. School transitions all passed so uneventfully that I don’t have any memory of even the faintest bit of stress in those journeys. Looking back I barely sensed the fact that I should be anxious about the whole school thing until I found myself agonizing about the outcome of my oral board exam at age 31. At age 60 I realize how not normal that may very well be, and I am quite grateful for that.

School on to marriage, children, and career have mostly seemed the same. Oh sure, we made a less than optimal call on my first post-training job, landing in an area that was a bit more rural than we expected. And for certain the decision to leave a thriving practice to start from scratch turned out to be a major challenge because I chose to do it just in time to get crushed by the Great Recession and a paradigm shift in medical economics brought about by the Affordable Care Act. But there always seemed to be a logical next step in each of those circumstances. Almost as if there was a map or a guidebook. Perhaps a chapter in “Passages” even.

Once again, on closer inspection, the one constant through every one of my passages since graduating from college is probably the reason that each one was traveled without much trauma. Our marriage has been the touchstone, the compass that has continually kept us moving through life’s stages with confidence and conviction. Potty training and the joys of pre-school? No problem. Beth was on it. Adolescence and the turmoil of junior high school and early high school? Turns out I was pretty good at taking the lead during that phase (at least as much as I could being at work all day). Moving on to post-graduations, marriages, and the arrival of grandchildren? It seems like we’ve found a natural rhythm to our intersecting roles there, too, finding our comfort zones and trying to help each other stay in them.

There’s no reason to expect anything different as we begin to move into another “passage”, as we move from that magical part of life where one is near a peak in everything. Knowledge built up over decades of study leavened by the wisdom of simply having lived for those decades. Physical health and prowess not nearly at the level of that in our 20’s and 30’s but still more than adequate to be active and to enjoy that activity. The next passage is as daunting psychologically and emotionally as it is as inevitable, the proverbial boulder starting to roll downhill. Here, though, for the first time since Turning 50 I find that the space between my ears is anything but tranquil.

Why might that be? Thinking back of all of the previous”passages” of my adult life the theme has been teamwork. Well, a bit more than that. Teamwork born out of love and respect, borne aloft through times of all sorts by a deep commitment to both the desired outcome and the health and happiness of my most important teammate, Beth. No change there. I’ve come to understand that my challenge is that for the first time in a very long time I can’t really see the print in the figurative guide book; the map seems to be all fuzzy. I know that successful passage into and through this next phase requires the continual development and nurturing of not only our shared spaces and pathways but also ones that are more individual in focus.

Not developing or nurturing those puts a ton of pressure on the rest of the team to somehow fill empty timespace and emotionalspace. To be a good teammate, a good partner, one must carry some of the load, eventually. There’s really no mystery about what is needed. Heck, I’ve even written about it (The Secret to Happiness? Three Friends). A couple of Harvard sociologists looked at men in the Harvard Class of 1955 to see what the happiest of them had in common. Two things came out in the end: love (those who were married were happier) and friendship built around shared interests. More than that was the finding that those friendships didn’t include your spouse, and that three was a magic number. It didn’t matter what you did with your friends, what mattered was that you had three or more.

Reading their stories it was clear that the majority of those male friendships included a common interest that had been shared across the various passages they’d had throughout life. Golf, travel, chess, Bridge, whatever. Beth has had this kind of interest through her decades long love affair with all things horse. In my 40’s I assumed that golf was my ticket. It sure worked for my Dad, and my brother has had year after year of joy and friendship through playing. A wrecked shoulder at 48 and the financial strife of the Recession made it a bit too easy to walk away from golf. Then there was CrossFit, both at home and country wide. For a time it looked as if all things CrossFit would fall in line as the next passage “easy button”. Alas this, too, fell away for reasons that seemed out of my hands both at the time and in retrospect.

Of course I really do know not only what I’m supposed to be doing but also how to do it, right? Where I’m really finding the challenge is in the reality that I haven’t done enough through this most recent passage to make the transition to the next one as seamless and imperceptible as those earlier in life. Some of that lack of effort can certainly be traced to my disappointment, my sadness at the demise of the seamless continuation of my golf and CrossFit lives. But still, when presented with the reality that CrossFit changed and went away, I turned away from the work of finding its replacement.

What I did was go to work. My patient nailed it. When she asked me about hobbies I was looking forward to in retirement I’d mentioned my professional speaking and consulting. Hardly hobbies, and for sure hardly the type of shared activities likely to allow me to create and foster those friendships so crucial to happiness at this stage in life.

Continued happiness, the kind of happiness I’ve enjoyed for pretty much my entire life, does not live in the office or the OR. Nor is it internal; it lies outside the space between my own ears. As easy as it is to simply remain there surrounded by my own thoughts, it’s time to get outside. Will outside be a golf course? I really do miss the company of golfers. Who knows? Might be something entirely new, though I have a sneaky suspicion that there’s an easy button hiding in the plain site of something I already know. Funny though, isn’t it? Just like my last rocky passage at age 49, once again it’s a tossed aside comment from one of my patients that has opened the guidebook and brought the map lines into focus.

It’s time to get out and live a little.

I’ll see you next week…

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