Today, we put in some Saturday office hours – the end-of-the-year catching up and regrouping. Now that we’re finished brainstorming the “from now ons” and “no more of [x]s”, it’s time to come back to our serene little corner of the world and do what everyone does (or should do) on New Year’s Eve: reflect.
I know you thought I was going to say “drink”. Ha.
Let’s take a moment to look back on the YouTube video that was 2011.
1. Last year around this time (and up until 6 weeks ago), we were living in a stuffy, crappy, cramped low-income roach-infested apartment, resenting every bit of the boom-boom car stereos, late-night drug deals, and illegal immigrants with tejano music coming up through the floor, cell phones permanently stuck to their ears, and litters of dumpy kids. Don’t forget the dryer lint simply tossed out onto the hedges instead of thrown into a proper trash can like we tend to do in developed countries. Yeesh.
This year, we’ve moved up in the world. We gave up our AT&T Uverse package and a blissfully carefree commute for a much cleaner and more spacious apartment with large windows, more plentiful parking, a serene courtyard, and an ambient view. Bonus: no roaches! Although we’re no longer within easy reach of interesting neighborhoods or public transportation (damn), we’re also a good comfortable distance away from Honda-driving cholos who race down the wrong side of the road and blow through the stop signs.
2. My health continues to…well, demystify itself, at least. This year brought many more answers than questions, for once – although few solutions just yet. I’m still sporting my baby bump with no fucking baby (don’t get me wrong – I don’t mind not having the baby on the way. But I don’t want the bump, either). I hold steady at 5-6 lbs under the max weight I’d clocked in a year ago. Knowing it’s not an adrenal or primary thyroid problem is somewhat comforting, because it would’ve been frustrating to attempt those protocols without any results. That might’ve shaken my foundation of faith in what I do and sent me into a tailspin. At least now I know it’s not my fault, nothing I can do anything about without probably climbing underneath a scalpel.
3. The practice continues to grow. I got published twice in Natural Awakenings and Jay and I have both made guest appearances on an increasingly-highly-rated health and wellness show on a major AM radio station in our area. I’ve been on that show twice now. And I also dominate the first page of Google when searching for my type of care in our area. Although it has its ups and downs, fruitful and dry spells, I think it’s on the steady (even if gradual) increase overall. Which leads me to…
4. The Headspace – ahh yes, the headspace. I’m still under this crazy impression that I should get paid for what it is I do. I’m also suffering from the delusion that patients will actually appreciate the fact that I do more for them than anyone else, take more time with them than anyone else, include more perks and extras than they’ve ever seen, respect them more, answer their questions more thoroughly and all for a lower cost than they’ve ever paid. I thought they might show some gratitude.
I was wrong, at least for the most part. I could do all that, and it’s never enough. They bitched, moaned, whined, protested, and shat all over me.
“It’s not covered by insurance.”
“That testing is too expensive.”
“I can’t afford regular visits.”
“I cheated on my diet.”
“It’s too many supplements.”
“I don’t know what to do on the diet.”
“I want to know what else I can eat, even though you’ve spelled it out simply and straightforward, in plain language in a well-thought-out, well-written, comprehensive informational handout.”
“I knew I had all week to call you and set an appointment for your undivided attention but I’m going to wait till Friday afternoon and send you cyberdiarrhea about how I have all these ‘concerns’ piled up that I’ve never mentioned to you, so that I feel better, and who gives a shit if you have a crappy weekend worrying because of it…and I’m going to do that every weekend like clockwork, because it makes me feel better.”
So now, I have taken my life back. Not only am I not available 24/7, and not only am I not working overtime after hours for free anymore, but I’ve also taken several additional steps to reclaiming my sleep, sanity, and soul.
- Hobbies – getting back onto my P2P music downloading program. This way, I can enjoy life again.
- Me Time – this is slightly different than hobbies. This involves watching trash TV like Cops and America’s Most Wanted, along with other TV like Family Guy and Flying Wild Alaska. I also read peoples’ personal blogs or business blogs (not related to my work) or research non-work-related subjects just for fun.
- Turn off, tune in, drop out (or something) – I’ve set gradually firmer boundaries throughout the year. First it was a refusal to check email after I left work. Then I wouldn’t check it after a certain time in the afternoon. Then it was setting the vacation autoresponder. Then it was the patient handouts: the first was a pre-emptive “you’ll feel worse before you feel better” and the second was a “When To Call Me…” checklist. Then we hired our Office Manager and front desk CA, which was a ray of light from heaven. And now I’m to the point where I don’t do anything work-related when I get home.
And you know what? I’m not fucking sorry. I even stopped apologizing.
This year, we’re staring down the barrel of a new office, twice as big as our current one. Are we ready? I think we’re as ready as we’ll ever be. Every time I think we might not be able to afford it, I’m reminded that we can’t afford not to. So we’re about to embark on yet another journey into the unknown, mapping new territory as we go.
So yes, life has become both more challenging and more fun. It’s finally worth living again; I still feel I’m spinning my wheels a little, but I also see that there’s a break in the clouds, a light on the horizon. This hardship stuff won’t last forever.
Truthfully, it has already started to let up a little. Finally I have some balls, even though it’s not much. I’m a bit more comfortable in my own skin, and I’m adjusting to the idea of telling it like it is. I’m a bit more seasoned and less naively optimistic at this point, but that’s because I’ve been through a few skirmishes and earned a few scratches. And I know that’s not over yet.
Next year I have a lot to look forward to…let’s see how many of these I can accomplish:
- To grow even bigger balls so that I can not be afraid put my foot down, speak up, and say what needs to be said.
- To finish my CCN education, read the books, take the test, and earn the title.
- To keep a clean house that I enjoy coming home to every night like we do now.
- To explore my uterine options, make a decision, and solve that problem.
- To strike a fair balance between fair compensation and excess expense/nickel-dime/etc.
- To build full-spectrum practice in a nice large office, and expand our advertising/marketing efforts including blogs, etc.
- To rehabilitate my body, including my cerebellum and blood sugar management, adrenals, hormone balance, liver function, and everything else.
Bonus: 2011 “Soundtrack”, if you will (probably not complete):
“Not a Crime” – Gogol Bordello
“Matchstick Murder” – Tristen
“Tiki Tiki Kardi” – Arash
“Pumped Up Kicks” – Foster the People
“Distant Lights” – Ivy
“Used To Be” – Beach House
…yeah, definitely not complete yet.
Oh well, 2011’s in the books. In light of the apocalyptic predictions surrounding the Mayan calendar, I wonder what 2012’s version of this post will look like?