December 09, 2018

Two hand grenades landed in my inbox this weekend.

First: the man who has everything took a trip. He went to a tropical island, and over a long bout of navel-gazing, thought seriously about chucking his surgical career for life on the beach. That's saying a lot, for a guy making millions/year doing surgery. But look past the money, and you'll see a lot of decisions—some of them costly—with real consequences paid in health, relationships, and well-being. Leaning on people once in a while is okay—a strong marriage can handle a few nights apart—but make a habit of it and you'll be divorced. That's been a bit of an adjustment for him, coming out of the "total institution" of medical school.

It's a lesson I could do well to remember myself.

But that wasn't all; the second was a paternity scandal—a guy I know, married with a teenage son—discovered he may have a child he didn't know about. A few bad decisions, and his life might never be the same.

All to say, as I get older, it's not just sins of omission that get you—the calls you didn't make, the letters left unsent—but sins of commission—the things you did, you wish you hadn't. I tend to worry more about what I don't do, but more and more, I see it's not just what one does, but what one chooses NOT to do, that define us.

Be careful. The #1 goal is survival.

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