In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought this would be a most opportune time to post the following story. Michael Gates Gill talks about his journey from great wealth to having little on the Sunday Morning Show (excuse the crappy quality of the video but it really is worth watching). Going in the opposite direction most of us strive for, see how Mr. Gill ironically finds a sense of contentment and well being that we all yearn for yet eludes so many of us. What struck me most in this clip is when he talks about how he is so much happier living in his one room apt versus his 20 room mansion in his former life. No longer burdened with the all the stresses to maintain such a home, Mr. Gill is able to live a more peaceful state of being. On another program, he compares this feeling to that of being in the airport and being weighed down by lots of luggage vs having a light backpack with all that you would ever need. If you want to learn more about Mr. Gill’s story, you can pick up a copy of his book, “How Starbucks Saved My Life” or you can watch his life story on film in an upcoming movie where Tom Hanks plays his character.
Wow…Is this guy dead on or what? And is it no wonder why our American credit driven society is currently in the beginning stages of an economic meltdown? The day of reckoning has finally come for Starbucks loving SUV driving McMansion squatters and the greedy Wall Street leeches who took advantage. Get ready to cringe as you watch Ben Stein proclaim banks a screaming buy and other financial “pundits” predict DOW 15K and the never ending increasing housing prices. I guess Peter Schiff is having the last laugh now. Can you say total pawnage?!
From time to time over in SDN land, the Student Doctor Network, I get questioned and even accused of being a depressed person and that the problem was with me and not with our current flawless healthcare system which the rest of the world should strive to emulate. Here was my response that I posted in an attempt to address these misconceptions.
“I wouldn’t say I am a depressed person, far from it. In fact, I believe we live in an amazing world with so many incredible opportunities and it depresses me to think I am missing out on so much being married to healthcare. A marriage gone terribly bad and I want a divorce. In fact, I believe this “funk” I am in is entirely environmentally induced.
How do I know this? In between switching specialties, I had a year off where I had taken a job in a very different career- one in which I always yearned to try. I didn’t do “research” nor did I do a prelim year so I wouldn’t lose my skills as some recommended. What the **** is that anyway???? I had this time away and I was going to make the most of it. Let’s just say I felt like a caged bird released into the wild. A year out of medicine reminded me how good life could be when you had time to embrace it. I had an incredible year- more than I would’ve ever expected. I LOVED waking up every morning and going to work- imagine that? In fact, it didn’t even feel like work at all. I felt respected, appreciated, and actually felt like I was making a difference in the lives of others. My stress level went from like an 11 down to a 1. The hours were to die for- 35-40 hr weeks, no weekends ever, no call (huh? what is that?), no pager going off in the middle of the night, no getting stuck to god knows when each and every day, no dreading monday mornings anymore, no fear of getting sued, no “I am mightier than God” attitudes or malignant personalities to contend with, oh and i could call in sick without feeling like I committed murder. I could go and on. My very best day as a resident didn’t even come close to my very worst day that whole year. And that is the God honest truth.
Maybe that is why I am having such a hard time. There are others who want out of medicine but don’t have the courage to do it or simply don’t know what else they would want to do so they just stick it out and go through the motions. But I know exactly what I would do. I find myself constantly comparing my life now to what it was like then. We have all heard of the saying that the “grass isn’t always greener on the other side”. I sometimes think people say that just to make themselves feel better over their current dire situation. But let me tell you, the grass WAS truly greener on the other side- as green as the greenest grass in all of Ireland. I hope to return one day.”
“If success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not live in your heart, it is not success at all.” -Anna Quindlan
Do you find yourself questioning your current path while at the same time to others on the outside everything appears to be in perfect order? Are you truly living the life of your choosing or are you rather living a life to live up to society’s expectations? Do you sometimes wish you could just trade in your current treadmill running frenetic harried pace of life for one of a more simpler and peaceful existence?
In Adventures of Voluntary Simplicity, Jack, a thirty something Washington D.C lawyer, blogs about these very issues. In June, Jack announced he was planning on leaving his $300,000 dollar a year job as a lawyer for a more simpler way of living. Furthermore, on October 27, Jack symbolically burned his Harvard Law School Diploma on youtube for all the world to see:
From Jacks intro to the video:
“Ive been thinking about doing this, in one way or another, for a while now. But I was never really sure if I would be doing it for the right reasons. Not to mention how silly it sounded whenever I brought it up to people. But this weekend it all came together: the weather was beautiful, the trails were inviting and freedom seemed just around the corner. So I went for it.
This is NOT a knock against Harvard. Or a calculated criticism of legal education. Or even a rejection of elitism, per se.
Sometimes you just need to say goodbye to your past in order to move forward.
In the end, it was just a piece of paper. Nothing more. I would rather live my life on my own terms than be a person that needs a piece of paper to justify their own worth.”
Care to open your mind to another way of living? Check out Jack’s blog below: