Last week, I had the opportunity to take a weeklong vacation to London and Paris. This was my first time visiting to both cities and I could not wait to see all the sights and visit the museums. We hit the highlights, seeing Buckingham Palace, the Louvre, and the Eiffel Tower, but my favorite part of the trip was the little things. Every morning, my wife and I would walk to a café and just sit, talk, read, drink our coffee, eat our croissants, and watch the world pass us by. Then we would stroll around town taking in the sights. The trip was a great reminder to slow down and enjoy the here and now by focusing on what makes us happy.
Traveling always clears my head and helps me focus on what is important by taking me out of my everyday routine. What I realized on this trip was that I had been putting myself and my goals on hold. Like most dentists, I have a type A personality and am very goal-oriented. How else could one survive four years of college and then another four years of dental school? Dental school ingrains schedules, deadlines, and organization, and so I became what I would consider to be an expert scheduler, often planning my days down to the minute.
In school, I would meet with one of my friends once a week to go for a run. Our typical conversation started as a way to take our minds off the pain that our legs and lungs were experiencing as we ran through the concrete jungle that is Houston. Our typical conversation would include griping about exams, lab work, or how far behind we were in clinic. Towards the end of our runs, the conversation would drift to how we could not wait until we were done with National Boards, finished with clinic, or graduated from dental school. We thought that life would be so much easier and we would have more time to do all those things we sacrificed during school after graduation.
Fast forward to today, where I’m working 8 to 5, Monday through Friday, marketing and managing a dental practice; it feels like time is just speeding up. I still find myself putting off the things that make me happy, and I’m starting to realize that life never slows down or gets any easier. The trip showed me that it’s imperative that I stop procrastinating and start doing the things I want to do that make me happy now. The technical term for this is called, “sharpening the saw.” Experts recommend that everyone should be able to do something every day that refreshes them and makes them happy. For me it’s pretty simple. My list includes working out, reading, writing, being outdoors, and of course, coffee. I’ve also signed up for something I’ve wanted to do for several years, but never had the time to do: run an Ultra-Marathon. As soon as we got back from the trip I signed up so that I didn’t change my mind or schedule something else at that time.
I challenge everyone who reads this to figure out those two or three things that you could do every day to make you happy. Go ahead and schedule those on your bucket list.
Grant Glauser, DDS