Musings on Life
Recently I went to my primary care doctor for my annual checkup. After that visit and a bunch of lab tests, he said I was doing fairly well for my age. I was a little concerned about that comment, so I couldn’t resist asking him, “Do you think I’ll live to be 90?
He asked: “Do you smoke tobacco, or drink beer, wine or hard liquor?”
“Not much,” I said.
He asked: “Do you eat rib-eyed steaks or barbecued ribs?”
“Not much at all,” I said.
“Do you spend a lot of time in the sun, like playing golf, boating, sailing, or bicycling?”
“ No, I don’t,” I said.
He asked, “ Do you gamble, drive fast cars or motorcycles?”
“No,” I said again.
He looked at me and asked, “Then why do you even give a shit?”
Seriously, as I now get much closer to the end of my career than the beginning, it seems a time of reflection has come upon me. I know some of you are feeling similarly, so my last message will have little to do with dentistry, although some of what follows is applicable to our professional lives, too.
I would like to share with the membership, as my last message, a few things I have learned and believe about life and living on this good earth:
Life is not about the accounting of one’s accomplishments, but the mark you make on others’ souls.
I have learned that the path through life is not straight, but celebrating the journey can be a source of great strength.
I think being completely honest with yourself is the hardest thing in the world to do, but the most critical skill you can learn.
I think that never regretting anything you’ve done means you’ve never done anything.
I believe stopping to help a stranger placed in your path is your duty as a human being.
I've learned the most challenging skill a man must acquire is to listen.
I believe there is always time to do the things that are important to you, no matter how “busy” you think you are.
I've learned there are only two times when you should put your two cents in: when it’s requested or when it is a life-threatening situation.
I think respect is something that should be given everyone you meet. It’s up to them whether they continue to deserve it.
That it’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.
That I will not be judged by what I have achieved in this world, but by how well I have cared for and loved those close to me.
I believe that forgiveness of those who have hurt you, patience with those who annoy you, and an appreciation of every single day of your life are much easier said than done, but so essential to happiness.
I think it's okay to have expectations of others and to tell them what they are. It's the only way you'll ever know if they can be met.
I believe love is the most important emotion of all. It will heal almost everything.
And finally, for every situation, there is a suitable line from a song!
Thank you for the honor of serving you as President this year. I hope my time has been productive for the membership. I am proud our mutual accomplishments of this past year, highlighted by the well-received and MBDS-sponsored Opioid Symposium in November. I have been asked to participate in other symposia and conferences on this subject, and hope to be at the forefront of providing the course on Opioids for the PDA going forward. Our community service efforts and Continuing Education programs have been excellent. We will continue to attract new members, and we have added several to the Executive Committee this year. I thank the members of that committee for their support and assistance during this year. As I hand over the gavel to Angel Stout, I am confident she inherits a vibrant and respected organization.
“Where it all ends I can't fathom, my friends.
If I knew, I might toss out my anchor.”
― Jimmy Buffett