“Optimism is the faith that leads us to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”Helen Keller
I’m not a fluffy, “life’s all fabulous” optimist. I have seen too much in other’s lives, and more recently in my own, to ignore the fact that things can definitely go wrong. Mine is an expert’s realism, tied up with a patient’s optimism.
I really like the truism that, “Everything is possible, but some things are more probable than others”.
How do we prepare then, for the inevitable (pardon the pun) bumps in the road?
There’s a famous model of grief, whose fifth and final stage is “acceptance” of whatever has befallen us. That is not to like it, nor even consciously decide when that resolution occurs, rather it is to acknowledge that the bad thing happened and move forwards. Thus we remember the difficult and the sweet times as memories, existing indelibly in our pasts.
I have a lock-up for all my wins and losses. I imagine that many others have their private place there too. It’s a secret place that only I have the key for. I keep my most precious and difficult memories in this place, the births and the exam successes, the tragedies and the traumas.
I visit this place from time to time, when I feel strong. I sift through the framed images and the hand-written memories. Some have me laughing and some crying. I take my time, dust down all the files and photos, arrange them neatly, and then I leave. I roll down that steel shutter, lock it up securely, and I go back to my life in the present. It is all part of me, but it won’t see me hesitate in my new life. I treasure it all, but I get to choose when I will relive it, whenever I feel ready.
I have awoken to a glorious new world. I can’t quite remember myself, how I used to feel, but I do recall my experiences as a doctor. I now have the privilege of time to consider my wins and losses. I can’t tell anyone else what they should do, or think. I can only share what I have seen and done.
For all of us who live this life with all its trials, laughs and tears, I hope the webpage, the podcasts and eventually the books, makes some sense and offer a path to find hope and joy in the future.