Sunday, December 14, 2014

TBTB/AALL

Spontaneity or life out of balance?
So, in case you haven't noticed, I've been TBTB (Too Busy To Blog) lately. Those are definitely four words I never thought I'd hear myself say, especially that cringe-inducing B word: busy. Unlike the majority of the rest of the world, I don't harbor mad love for the chronically busy. Personally, I find them transparent, boring, and predictable. When every aspect of your day's been planned down to the last detail, it really doesn't leave much room for spontaneity. And that's not very appealing to a free spirit like me.

My three year blogaversary has just passed. When I started blogging, my life was seriously koyaanisqatsi. Despite the fact that I'm a physician, I've never been one of those who lives to work. Work doesn't define me, and though it didn't back then, I'd allowed it to consume nearly every moment of my time because I felt I had no choice in the matter. Working to live didn't seem like an option. The gravid incongruity of my free spirit vs chronically busy situation finally got my attention, and fortunately, spontaneity won out.

Initially, blogging provided a much-needed outlet, a serious means of catharsis. It gradually evolved into what it is today, a fun way to connect with other people all over the world. For the first few months, I blogged every day. When Spartacus and I moved back to Atlanta from Rome, GA, it dropped down to every other day, then once a week. After I started working again, this time only three days a week, I found that once a month sufficed.

Working to live, not living to work
The last couple of months have been a blur. I'm transitioning into my new job by covering interventional pain clinic several days a month, so I've pretty much been back to working full-time. Shifting from anesthesia to pain medicine is accompanied by a significant learning curve, necessitating a fair amount of independent study. It's a bit like being in residency again. My current job finishes at the end of December, and in January, I'll be working four days a week instead of three. Can't argue with that. So, these major changes in my professional life, as well as the long-awaited closing on my house last month, have occupied a big chunk of my time. And I am breathing a huge sigh of relief. 2014 has been a tough year for lots of reasons I won't go into, which is why I'm glad I'm an optimist. Optimism is just as legitimate a reality as pessimism is. It's a matter of distinguishing what you do and don't have control over and rolling with it. Being adaptable and flexible, instead of schedule-driven. That's the beauty of spontaneity. There's always a workaround.

The stuff that matters...
Similarly to how my blogposts have naturally occurred a little less frequently over time, I too have been attenuating. And I'm not referring to the fact that Spartacus and I now have only one mortgage, instead of three. I'm talking about my attitude, how I deal with stress. I've learned not to take things personally. I've quit taking myself and others so seriously. I introspect less and do what I want more. I'm pretty good at living in the moment and following my heart without worry, regret, or expectation. Most importantly, I've realized that my happiness is my decision. Making a few small adjustments in perspective has allowed me to dial down my emotional responses, appreciate just how noncatastrophic most problems really are, and conserve my energy for the stuff that really matters. Three years ago, I would have thought being TBTB was a sure sign of failure. It's actually just a sign that I'm AALL (alive and loving life).