A mid-year assessment . . . a new start

So here we are folks . . . half way through the year!  Here in the northern hemisphere, the sun is high in the sky and hot hot hot. The roads are clearer on the morning’s ride to work with people taking off and schools closed.  I’ve taken a little time off and hope to take a little time off later in the summer to recharge the batteries . . . 

It is a good time to take a look back and think about how successful I have been in implementing my plans for the year . . . YIKES . . . NOT VERY!

I had hoped that I would be a bit more careful about how I handled this year.  Relax more, play more, spend more time with the family, be less stressed, have more fun . . . Instead, as perhaps with many of you . . . the busy-ness of life has intruded on me.  It has been difficult for me to compartmentalize the “want to dos” from the “have to dos”.  Unfortunately, the “have to dos” are winning.  In some weeks, it is a blow-out! WTT 0: HTT 27 . . . ninth inning . . . two outs!!!  What’s a shrink to do?  What is anyone of us to do???


Well, the eternal optimist in me is still alive.  It is never too late.  The good thing about a quiet and sunny saturday morning in July is that there is still lots of time to decide what you will to for the year.  As I opened one of my many books of quotes looking for something inspirational for the “Quote of the Day”, I came to the following anonymous quote . . . “We mold out habits at first, but our habits mold us in the end”.

H m m m m m m . . . read that a few times.

My habits have once again leaned toward overdoing for others.  Doing instead of delegating.  Ignoring my needs and taking care of others (what a doctor type I am!), etc.  My worry is that in the long run, I gyp myself out of good times and gyp others out of the best part of me.  Once again, I remind myself of the need to slow down.  My list of things that I want to do/”have” to do is long and will always be long.  My psyche does not tolerate the hint of a vacuum and will fill all available minutes with perceived need.  The challenge is to include in that intrusive list of things to do the act of doing nothing.  Of just being.  Of sitting and watching.  Letting the thoughts of yesterday and today come and go and not rest to long in the moment lest they cloud my awareness of what is that moment.  

The morning started cool and sunny with nothing to distract me as I immerse myself in the universe of my back yard.  No other human present, and me being quiet and slow, the life that flows through my little slice of nature flowed as a tide flows . . . in . . . and out . . . the wrens and sparrows flowing in and around the feeders, swirling as they fight and play with each other.  Calling and calling from one tree to another around and around using the space between me and the trees and the grass and the cloudless sky to speak to me of an unfettered freedom and joy that I wish I could share in more often.  The cicadas with their far off metallic hum and the squirrels with their chattering.  The morning doves hoo hoo as they take the fallen leftovers from the grass beneath the feeders.  And above all, the wind, reminding that there is something greater and more powerful and more untamed that moves us about . . . the tops of the great trees move in their choreographed dance . . . wooosh . . . wooooooosh . . . wooooooooooooooosh . . . and then . . . quiet . . . and the sound of the birds . . . and the cicadas . . . and a far off jay . . . and the sound of the wind . . .

2 comments to A mid-year assessment . . . a new start

  • Lorene

    Hello Dr. Dan,
    After reading your mid-year assessment … might I use your words to give you your advice?. In using the meaning from the Quote of the Day, maybe it’s time for you to retrain your psyche to tolerate that hint of a vacuum that you might find available at times? Sound good?
    Listen, we still have about 5 1/2 months to go in this year. So, taking into account that you allowed yourself to be immersed in the beautiful sights and sounds of nature, I’d say you’re the WTT’s are scoring some. I’m a firm believer in recharging the batteries and spending time with nature and family can be all that is needed from time to time.
    Enjoy the rest of your summer doctordan !
    P.S. I know a good and enjoyable family DVD that’s getting cob webs on it just waiting to be watched. (hint hint)

  • Mz F!

    Good to hear from you! The most interesting part of the day is how mother nature volunteered me for time outside that day . . . half a tree was blown over in the woooooosh of the wind. My chain saw was dead from lack of use, so I spent the day clearing my front lawn of tree debris with a hand saw . . . good physical therapy and good mental therapy.

    I will take my own advice and spend more time being quiet and watching . . . and less time doing. Except for that much neglected movie!

    –DH MD