New Tomorrows

Every day carries the promise of tomorrow. But the start of a new year stands out as a collective moment to prepare for “the future,” the new tomorrow.

What does that even mean?

We never really live in the future. Each moment offers us now. Having recently completed 23 long years of higher education, I have no idea what it means to live in the now. I have spent my entire career thus far, planning (and applying) for what is ahead. At the end of that established path is now. And the greatest lesson I learned in 2013 was to feel, experience, enjoy, mourn, grow, learn, play, think, question, now.

The truth is, my life is not on a 10 year plan. I’m going moment to moment, shift to shift, idea to idea, opportunity to opportunity, each now touching the next now until it comes into being. Any other way of living simply makes me feel overwhelmed and inadequate and doesn’t honor the power I hold in the moment, to make choices, rightly or wrongly, learn, grow, feel, and take that step to the next now.

What are you doing with your right now? (besides reading this post, thank you!)

Are you at peace or do you feel stressed? What are the choices that you control to create the life you dream of? If tomorrow was new and you could be whoever you want to be, what would you do, who would you be?

What if, instead of wishing onto the days, weeks, and months of the unforeseen, we felt, experienced, enjoyed, considered, the new year as a new moment, a new day, a new promise that we may have tomorrow. At the end of every day, be it good or bad, we can lie down and if we are so lucky, get up again. Isn’t that what tomorrow is all about? Getting up, in the moment, and choosing to live in the joy, mystery, and wonder of it all.

Hello, 2014 you stranger, you.

I accept that I have no idea what this year has to bring.

I am excited about new opportunities to share love, life, and creation and thankful to be a part of it all.

I hope each of you will continue to join me on the journey.

To new tomorrows!

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Pearls of 2012

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This is a pic I took on a trail near Stinson beach.

And I’m back! After a short holiday hiatus – I went home for Christmas (first time in the last 3 years!) and had a lovely jaunt of Q2 NICU call to ring in the new year (that’s every other day, 26 hour shifts in the neonatal intensive care unit) – I’m back and looking forward to new beginnings in 2013, for me and my blog!

For me, moving into a new year isn’t so much about resolutions as it is about lessons learned. Here are 3 things I will carry with me from 2012.

3. The Power of Partnerships. In 2011, one of my research interests dovetailed with a colleague of mine who is now a chief resident here at UCSF. We are both excited about the opportunities to use social media in medicine and our collective energy pushed our projects forward in 2012. Here’s what I learned:

  • Collaboration, at its best, builds on the strengths and augments the weaknesses of everyone involved. This maximizes productivity and personal satisfaction in shared projects.
  • Healthy working relationships are based on mutual respect and trust.
  • Clearly delegate responsibilities and assign credit for each portion of a project before you start. In writing is best because you can refer to it if/when confusion about roles/responsibilities arise.

Together, we have written a paper (that is waiting to be published), started a website (to launch in the new year!), submitted an abstract to an academic conference (that was accepted!), and developed teaching tools around our areas of interest (including a new curriculum we are hoping to use in our residency program). The future of medicine is about aligning our collective interests and building something that is bigger than the sum of our individual parts. We will continue to do that in 2013!

2. Change Starts with Me. I have long felt physicians have a responsibility to be vocal members of our body politic. If our nation’s healthcare spending makes up close to 20% of the GDP (one and a half times more than any other country, by the way) and we now know our population’s health is intimately linked to issues of housing, income, education, and local environment, then physicians should be talking about these things, and they need to be speaking publicly. I am starting with myself. This blog is my effort to foster and join national conversations about health in the context of our daily life, work, and play. No topic is off limits. Join me in 2013 as I put my mouth where our nation’s money is and take on the major issues facing medicine and pediatrics today!

1. Life is a Beautiful Mess. My perfectionist tendency has always been to tidy up loose ends and clean my stress away. But I am starting to realize that some parts of life are best left alone – unplanned, unadjusted, un-judged. As the countdown at the bottom of this page reveals, I am graduating soon (really soon) and completing a long stretch (24 years long) of the planning and preparation that traditionally defines higher education. Now it’s time to get off the ride and start a ride of my own. I don’t know what lies ahead for a young pediatrician who’s passionate about finding meaning in clinical medicine and addressing the major social issues facing my field today. But I have a feeling, the ride is going to be exhilarating and exhausting and full of the dips and turns that are worth getting a little messy for.

This is the end of that trail...a new beginning...

This is the end of that trail…a new beginning…

What pearls are you taking from 2012?

Here’s to new beginnings in 2013!