Alabama Nasal & Sinus Center
I just came back from a short trip to Sandestin, Florida for The Deep South Otolaryngology Meeting, where the ENT societies of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana get together to discuss boogers and stuff related to ear, nose, and throat care. We had a great meeting, with lots of excellent speakers and lively discussion of relevant topics to those who practice otolaryngology.
The time away gave me a chance to contemplate life a little. I was able to bring my family along on the trip, so all of my time not spent in the meeting was spent with my wife and children either eating something tasty or playing in the Gulf of Mexico. The juxtaposition of professional development alongside really great family time serves as a window into one of life's greatest challenges – the work time –family time balance. There is a tendency (for me) to feel guilty about attending meetings when my kids are waiting for me to take them to the beach or the arcade. Then, when I'm at the arcade, there is a temptation (for me, at least) to worry that maybe I should be networking more with colleagues or writing a paper or whatever. In both cases, I have learned that the secret to happiness and success in both arenas is presence. Don't be in one place thinking of what you should be doing in another. Don't be distracted by what happened at work or what you left hanging at work when your teenage daughter is talking to you about her day. Be present. Or, as Dr. Kevin Elko says, "Be where your feet are planted." Be fully engaged wherever you are. People, especially your family, want your presence. They want your undivided attention. But, you have a lot of other responsibilities. True. Don't we all. So, manage your life (notice, I did not say manage your time – we all have the same amount of time in the day and each of our days are numbered) in such a way that you have allotted time for work, family, faith, recreation, etc. Contrary to what the culture tells us, this type of positive, proactive life management begins with rest. The principle of Sabbath – deep abiding rest in the knowledge that God is in control and will provide all you need – is in view here. We work from our rest. We rest to clear our minds, let our souls catch up to our bodies, and prepare both for the next season. I encourage you to make Sabbath a regular part of your week and year. Make a plan and stick to it, but don't be ruled by it – be flexible. Set goals and execute the plans to reach those goals. Prioritize those five fundamental areas of your life: faith, family, faculty (work and hobbies), fitness, and fun. I hope that challenges you and helps you a little.
You think about that, and God bless.
Below: a view from a hillside village in Haiti.