I hope you had a good weekend. I hate the Monday holidays. Mainly because I am usually off on Mondays and when everyone else is off on Mondays, I just don't feel very special. And you know it is all about me.
Did I tell you I am reading a book called I Sold My Soul on eBay? This guy, an atheist, decided to sell 50 trips to church on eBay. He was willing to hear what someone had to say and give them 50 chances to convert him. He ended up selling this particular service for $504. This book chronicles events of his church experience. It is well-written but hard to read. This guy goes into church,critiques what he sees, and he tells you what he is thinking. That is kind of like a patient, who let's say is a computer programmer, who tells you how you should do your fillings or even worse, how to run your practice.
I don't think that churches can't learn from him, but he says things like, "I keep hearing them talk about being saved. Do I need to be saved if I don't feel lost? I feel like I have it all together and I know for sure that I am not lost at the present time." But most things churches do (and people in them believe) would seem silly to someone that has NO faith. I just don't want to read about how silly me and my church look.
I watched an old movie this weekend called "Causalities of War." It has Sean Penn and Michael J. Fox in it. It is pretty good. It is about five guys on a long mission during the Vietnam War. Along the way, the guy in charge raids a farm village and kidnaps a young woman. One of the five is very vocal about how he thinks this is wrong. They take her along with them and you can imagine what they do with her, all along the one guy protesting. When they get back he tells his superiors, "What happens in the bush, stays in the bush." Then he goes to the highest guy he can find; the general says, "Forget about it." Well, he takes it all the way to the top and is finally vindicated. It was pretty good.
Alright - enough of the fluff, let's get to the topic...
I was thinking a lot about Friday's blog. I know it might have struck a chord with a lot of you, but I feel like there might be an underlying issue. Fifteen years after becoming a dentist, i sit and think a lot to myself. Sometimes I think to myself, "Damn, this is awesome. I absolutely love what I do."
But you know what? There are also times when I say, "This is it?" I look around and think, I went to four years of college, four years of dental school and worked my ass off as an associate for 8 years. Then I bought this practice and I am seven years into that and...
Most of the time it is a grind. It is becoming less and less exciting to see the same things over and over again. I understand this feeling, and I understand see how people can see that same thing going on in a lot of avenues of their own lives. For instance, their spouses...
My assistant is a mother of two. Her daughter and son-in-law moved away for work and her son is still in town but is trying to go to school and work and is not around alot. She told me she was sitting in the pool this weekend floating by herself. Her husband was sitting inside watching golf and she could not help think to herself, "Is this it?!?!"
It is this way with so many things in life. How about kids? Everyone says kids are so great. And they are. They really are, but there is a point where you say to yourself, "What the @$#%$T$@% was I thinking?" And I haven't even hit the teenage years yet.
How about your car? I can see how having a nice car is cool. It is nice having luxury. I don't have this, but I do get to ride in nice cars once in awhile and I can see how it is addicting. And when you have a nice car but it is 3 years old and all the new cars have so many more bells and whistles, you start to feel a desire for a new one. Same with houses. I love my house but I can tell you when I go to the muckity muck neighborhoods I start to say, "Man, I want that."
Why would it be any different with our spouses and our professions? Now I know I have talked about this recently but it keeps coming up (I guess I am mid-life crisis age so it is hitting home). I think what happens is we get into thinking it is going to be great and it is great. But even great can get boring. And great sometimes doesn't buy us all we want. So we start to change. The things that made us great at what we do get put to the side. The things that made us sleep better at night are not that important. It could start to become about YOU, and that could be bad.
I can see how some people get cold. They don't care about the relationships anymore. The tooth probably can get away with doing a filling but why bother with all that, when "well, let's see how this goes," will get you by? Let's take all the emotion out of it. "It needs a crown," and walk out of the room. I don't need to know about all the money issues you are having. Do you see what I am saying? Or am I rambling?
I mean, we all get those patients that come in for a "second opinion" after their dentist told them they needed 20 fillings. You look in there and don't see any issues at all.
Some dentists get tired of being at the office. You can see how people can get tired of sitting around the office. They don't have any patients so they don't come in. Why would they? Me, even if I don't have any patients, I am still coming in. There is so much that can happen while I am here - and besides, at this point in my life, I don't have much going on outside of here. What is happening is that dentistry is becoming a means to an end, and that is bad.
If you are young, you must prepare for the day that everything you find exciting can become mundane. But how do you prepare?
I have to tell you that luckily I don't feel this way. I feel like if I make the day exciting it will be less mundane. I try to have fun. I play around all day. I play 80s music. I joke constantly. As far as making teeth more, I have begun to study more and have been reading more peer-reviewed articles. I still love getting to know my patients. I try to make the office fun for me and my staff and my patients. I might do a surprise root beer float party at the end of the day. I cut out comics to put up in the staff lounge. My motto is "Fight complacency."
And the same with my marriage. If it becomes mundane and boring then you can see how people will think the grass is greener on the other side. I am not going to tell you how I make my marriage less mundane (let's just say a trip to the adult toy store is in order... OH GROSS!!!!) because you have to figure it out yourself.
Mid-life crisis or mid-practice crisis, some of us have been through it. Some of us are in it. Some of us think it will never happen to us (to you young guns, imagine doing your 30,000th filling) and that is great, but know that it might happen.
My last bit of advice is this - make practicing fun. Make life fun. (Am I sounding like Tony Robbins or what?) I am not saying quit practicing dentistry or leave your wife. No, I am saying remember why you fell in love with it and do that (maybe it involves a trip to the adult toy store).
Have a great Wednesday. See you on Friday.