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    Tuesday's Thoughts From The Valley Of Wrinkles

    “What a drag it is getting old.”

    If you’re old enough or possibly a classic rock fan, than you’re familiar with these lyrics that start off the Rolling Stones tune, “Mother’s Little Helper”. I’m sure most of us can attest to those inevitable issues associated with ageing. The aches and pains that refuse to go away, that restaurant menu or fine print that has become difficult to read, the frequent trips to the bathroom or maybe it’s that extra weight that insists on clinging to your gut.
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    And if that isn’t enough, look at the endless barrage of advertisements that try to lure us into the battle against aging. Youth regenerating anti-wrinkle cream, hair coloring to rid those grays, supplements and vitamins to make those joints work better, clothing to give that youthful vibe, books to combat stress, aides for a better night’s sleep and heck, I just saw a commercial for a better fitting and a sexier looking adult brief (aka a diaper). In fact, just the other day I got a letter asking me to sign up for an AARP card. Wait a minute, let’s pull the reins on that one because I’m so not ready to even enter that arena.
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    In the emergency department I’m surrounded by young doctors, nurses and support staff. So the obvious question arises, am I envious of their youthfulness? The short answer is sometimes. I mean, it’s difficult not to be when you hear about the parties, the flirting and the care free traveling. It only becomes reinforced when I see it plastered all over their social media pages too. Then again, I simply remind myself that social media is a façade and I’m only seeing a small snippet of what’s actually going on. In the end, there’s much about youth I’m glad that I don’t have to deal with anymore.
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    The other day the department was chaotic and filled beyond capacity. Patients yelled, alarms blared, trauma’s poured through the doors, tension infiltrated the staff and as I scurried through the hallway I came upon a friend.
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    Her shoulders weren’t hunched with stress. A shimmer of positivity skated across the surface of her eyes. “I’m so glad that I’m older,” she had said.
    “Older?” I had curiously asked.
    “Yeah,” she had answered. “I just don’t feel the need to rush. When I was younger I was always running around and stressing myself out over this stuff. Now, I know it’ll get done in due time.”
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    I gladly shook my head in agreement. And as I thought about it, it’s something that I’ve noticed of myself as of late. Maybe you feel like I do in that time, or more particularly life, is zipping by faster and faster.
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    Not only do I want to live my life more simply, that is not accumulate so much stuff, but I’d like things to slow down. In essence, I’m tired of being in a rush. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m going to start being late for work or a function. On the same token, I don’t feel the need to fill every second of my day with something. I like to wake up and take my time in starting my day. I like to sit outside and watch the slow transition into night, enjoy the work I’ve done on my yard or simply daydream. And when I’m driving somewhere, much to my wife’s chagrin (this might put me in the doghouse) I don’t feel the need to rocket down the highway in order to save a minute or two.
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    Something I think about quite often is that happiness is not a destination, but more about the journey we take. If you think that reaching a particular spot or maybe purchasing a specific object will bring long term happiness than you’ve most likely fallen into the trap of betrayal. If I could pass along one thing, especially to those who are in their youth, it would be that you can find meaning in the things that you do and the people you hang with. Surround yourself with positivity, do your best to be optimistic and try not to waste your life away with worry, doubt and someone else’s pessimism. I feel that always being in a rush is a needless waste of energy and ultimately drains you of your vitality which in turn takes away from the things that give your life meaning.
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    One thing that I’ve found working in emergency medicine is that life can drastically change in the time it takes to snap a finger. I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t looked back and wondered why they had wasted so much of it on meaningless things. Hopefully you can find a way to make your journey that much more relaxing, happier and meaningful before the possibility of an unwanted change happens your way.
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    I still believe that the majority of us want to be in this together, let’s not be too close together while we’re all in it.

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