I’ve been running my whole life. Towards some mythical goal or finish line that keeps moving further away.
People have always asked me, ‘how do you do it all?’ — sometimes with a look of pity now that I’ve really had time to think about it.
In a nutshell, I’m a practicing Dermatologist, the owner of a large and busy practice, an active academic and a semi-fulltime mom to three hockey-playing sons. If that wasn’t enough, I just wrote a book, bought a farm and added three loving stepchildren to this precarious balancing act I call life.
I’ve always been an overachiever and I don’t say this from a position of pride or conceit. It’s a burden if you can’t streamline and channel this desire to always succeed and prove yourself. It also can become unhealthy — and dangerous — as I recently found out the hard way.
You’re not supposed to break your hip at 51.
But it just so happens that a freak fall in pitch darkness, brought on by chronic exhaustion, is a recipe for premature broken bones. A dose of bad luck probably had something to do with it too.
Sometimes I use the phrase “We are where we are meant to be” when I find myself in less than desirable circumstances. It’s a way to make myself feel better. Though on this occasion, due to the lengthy time I’m forced to be alone and immobile, I had time to really consider why I was meant to be here: housebound for six weeks right after publishing the book I worked so hard to create. I should be practicing medicine and promoting my work, not sitting at home. It doesn’t seem fair. Right?
The more I contemplated it, the more I found myself dwelling on the concept of luck: good, bad and unexpected. It started to come into focus.
And as I sit and look out at the fields of my beloved Emilan farm and for the first time, be present in the stillness, I have come to the realization that sometimes it takes an unplanned, hard stop in life to make you appreciate what you’ve got and actually force yourself to stop running.