Podcasts I’m Listening To Now

My excessive commuting is fast coming to an end (Hooray!), but I’ve had lots of time – and thousands of miles – in the past six months to drive, contemplate life, fret over uncertainty, worry about Anything and Everything, plan vacations and listen to podcasts.

Lots and lots of podcasts.

Here are some suggestions, if you’re so inclined:

  • This American Life. I’ve been a fan since its inception. Still am. Always will be. This is the standard bearer for me by which all other podcasts are judged.
  • S-Town. The entire run of this Southern Gothic story dropped at once, and basically everyone freaked out and made this the Number One podcast in the Universe. Confession: for the first three episodes, I thought this was an extremely well-crafted fictional narrative, but when I figured out it was true, I lost my mind and gobbled up the rest. The storytelling here is incredible. I can’t even begin to describe what this is about: clock repair, hedge mazes, small town Southern life. You’ll have to trust me that this is so worth your time.
  • Crimetown. This first season is all about Providence, Rhode Island, and its corrupt politicians and mafia kingpins, both of which ruled the city for decades.   Any fan of works like “The Sopranos” or “Goodfellas” will love Crimetown.
  • Up and Vanished. Oh, boy. This one is addictive. This podcast starts out investigating a cold case murder of a teacher in a small town in Georgia, and in the course of the podcast, the case gets solved in real time. Watching this unfold week by week has been riveting. You can still catch up.
  • Matt and Doree’s Eggcellent Adventure: An IVF Journey. Well, I’m biased because this is what I do for a living, hence my initial binge and current weekly listening session. Matt and Doree are a likable California couple trying to have a baby via science. Hearing about IVF from a patient’s perspective has been humbling.
  • The Dinner Party Download. Guests vary, but the formula is the same: corny jokes, craft cocktail recipes, celebrity interviews and answers to modern etiquette quandaries.
  • Fresh Air.  Terry Gross is a master interviewer. An unfulfilled dream of mine would be to have dinner with Terry and have her find me witty and charming, with both of us leaving as fast friends. While this is never going to happen, a girl can dream. Full disclosure: I download all the episodes but only listen to about half, usually when the guests seem appealing. This is probably a mistake, because Terry Gross can make any interview fascinating. Tip: there is a weekend show with the week’s best clips if you want to cut to the chase.
  • Wait, Wait! Don’t Tell Me. Usually I catch this gameshow live on NPR, but when I don’t, I listen to the week’s podcast.
  • The Moth. Tagline: The art and craft of storytelling. Sometimes I laugh. Often I cry. The stories are that good. Another unfulfilled dream: have a story good enough to share at one of their events.
  • Mortified. Cringeworthy and awesome. Adults read their real childhood diary entries onstage, unedited and in their awkward adolescent glory. I’ve almost driven off the road choking with laughter, so be careful.

 

Summer Camp

Last week, Spouse and I took a leap of faith and sent Trixie off to camp.

For three weeks, one of which is spent doing a canoe trip that involves setting up tents, portaging and crossing the U.S. border into Canada.

She’s eight years old.

One more thing about that canoe trip: the guides purposefully steer the girls into headwinds and cheer when it rains under the premise that adversity builds character.

Screen Shot 2017-07-15 at 10.24.46 PM.png

I already love this camp.

“This American Life” recently replayed a 1998 episode (it’s held up remarkably well) entitled “Notes on Camp,”which explains the rituals, memories and strong emotions of kids who’ve grown up attending the same camp every summer. I highly recommend a listen; it would make almost anyone yearn for a type of childhood that most of us don’t get to experience.

The thing I love most about Trixie’s camp is that it’s an all female environment, from the campers to the counselors to the cooks to the camp director. The emphasis is on building strength, confidence and character, something I am 100% behind and I think is best accomplished in this exact setting.

Screen Shot 2017-07-15 at 10.26.09 PM

Trixie is already strong and confident, but the world can be tough on girls and even the strongest wings will have to fly through some storms.

Screen Shot 2017-07-15 at 10.26.32 PM

My friend M’s daughter is also attending this session. This is her second year at camp (she’s older than Trixie) and M. described last year’s experience as transformative for her daughter. I am hoping for the same.

My biggest wish: Trixie attends every summer and ultimately builds memories, friendships and qualities that last a lifetime.

I have so many dreams and hopes for This Girl.

Screen Shot 2017-07-15 at 10.27.22 PM

 

 

 

 

 

Declare It Day 2017

Declare It Day 2017 is in the books!

Knock on wood, my running’s been going well lately and I’ve been kicking around the idea of a fall marathon, most likely the Twin Cities Medtronic Marathon given that the course is  going to be (practically) in our new neighborhood and it’s a course I’ve run four times already.

This will also be my tenth marathon, which seems like a cool milestone.

Putting something out there for everyone to see has usually been an effective motivator for me in the past, so here’s my Declare It Day goal for 2017:

16473960_10154279395545267_3663531742610550963_n

And yes, I want to go for a PR!

 

How To Quit Your Job (A Work of Fiction)

Memo: How TO QUIT YOUR JOB

 

  • First, don an amazing outfit; I mean a truly spectacular one. Wear lipstick. You’re going to want to look good for this.
  • Do it in person and in writing. On the morning of the day you quit, request a brief meeting with your boss, and say it is time sensitive. In the meeting, say that you are resigning. Be pleasant but neutral. Practice this ahead of time in order to actually be pleasant and neutral when it matters.
  • Accompany your verbal notice with a written one. Keep this extremely brief; state you are resigning and give your suggested final day at this workplace. If you are leaving but not entirely happy with the departure, it’s ok to NOT fill the page with words thanking your current employer for making conditions so bad that you are leaving. That would be inauthentic, and that is something you are not. However …
  • Be gracious. Wish your colleagues the best in the future. Even if you don’t feel that way right now, it’s a classy gesture.
  • If offered an exit interview, YOU MUST RESIST the temptation to Put It All Out There. Spoiler alert: they don’t care what you really think at this point, and odds are nothing is going to change from what you say. Save your catharsis for your friends.
  • Refrain from using the phrase “with mixed emotions” to describe any aspect of your departure. This is trite, overused and makes you look both inarticulate and unimaginative.
  • Know that they will talk sh*t about you. They just will. You don’t need to like this fact, but you do need to know it. You see, other people are going to watch you walk away and that might force them to put a mirror to themselves and their own lives, and they may not like what they see. So for some it will be easier to trash you, call you a fool, shake their heads and say that you never belonged here in the first place. Secret: some of them will actually be jealous because you are doing something they wish they could do. Some may be inspired to follow your lead and exit. Some will be happy for you, and they are called your friends.
  • Time it strategically for your benefits. This is a practical one: some companies have benefits programs where if you work a few days out of a month, your benefits will continue until the end of the month. It may feel tidier to quit on July 31st versus August 3rd, but those extra days may mean a significant financial difference, especially if you have to pay for COBRA coverage.
  • In you can swing it, throw your own going away party and pay for the booze! This way you can invite who you want, focusing on the people you like, and there has to be at least someone you still like there. Avoid an awkward lunch party in the conference room at all costs.
  • Also, if possible, give yourself a bridge between finishing one job and starting another. Honor and enjoy the time off, because as adults we rarely get to do this. Go to a tropical island if you can, because your new job may require some significant nose-to-the-grindstone time before you earn/can afford another vacation.
  • Be Brave. Know that you are strong and will be Even More Amazing in your next iteration.

P.S. This is a work of fiction.

A New Opportunity (a.k.a. Difficult Decisions, the Pursuit of Happiness and the Opportunity of a Lifetime)

Today was the last day of my job.

It was a position I held for over eight years, and for much of that time, I thought it would be a forever job, one where I would start and end my specialty medical career.

The reasons behind the decision are complicated and too personal to share in their entirety, but initially I faced this change with deep sadness. I still partially feel this way.

To focus on the (amazing, wonderful) positive: I am about to embark on a very exciting new chapter.

A colleague and friend who I respect and love asked me to partner with her in joining an established private practice in a nearby city.

This is a Once in a Lifetime opportunity, and in the end, it is also one I could not pass up.

I want to be able to craft a medical practice that represents me in every aspect, from the little things like the magazines in the lobby (artsy, diverse), to the art on the walls (hip, real), to offering patients a beverage while they wait (sparkling water, anyone?), to the big things like making every patient feel understood and cared for during the good times and the bad. Another pro: I can dress more creatively without the restrictive wardrobe rules of my old job (all suits, all the time).

The most important factor: I can authentically be myself, always.

I’m excited to begin.

On the flip side, people may wonder why I’m leaving a position I loved. That’s harder to justify.

For most of the time I was in my former job, I truly, deeply loved it. I lived and breathed the work and gave my all to the institution. I was so proud to be a physician there.

A few weeks ago I was interviewed for a public radio news show about fertility treatment. The other guest was Belle Boggs, who wrote “The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine and Motherhood,” an eloquent memoir about being a fertility patient. The conversation was stimulating and one of the best I’ve had in a long time. At the conclusion of the hour, the show’s host told me that throughout the program, the phone lines had been jammed with current and former patients of mine who were calling to say what an excellent doctor I was.

My voice cracked when I thanked her for telling me. 

It’s almost impossible to leave that behind, even though I’m sure there will be new stories and new patients.

(Sidenote: I hesitated to include that anecdote in this post, because if read the wrong way it sounds really boastful and ugly. I don’t mean it to; it was a very surprising moment to me and one where instead of feeling swollen with pride, I actually felt quite stunned and humbled. In the end I decided to keep it because it illustrates the bittersweetness of my current situation).

In all parts of my life, I’ve pledged to be authentically myself, and it would be inauthentic at this time not to mention that the reason I was receptive to the opportunity to join a private practice with my friend involved turmoil within my own department. After a few years of this, my immediate colleagues and I were very unhappy. Despite passionate discussions and attempts at change, it became apparent that the status quo would be upheld.

I felt like I could continue to be unhappy in my current iteration or try to live authentically and forge a new path. I chose the latter.

While I still have framed some of this story with sadness, the overwhelming sentiments I feel are Happiness and Excitement for the future.

I now see this opportunity for what it is: a gift.

To the clinical and nursing staff I’ve worked with, patients I’ve been honored to care for and my physician friends, please know I love you. Thank you for letting me be a part of your life and be able to practice a medical specialty that I deeply love. It is a privilege.

 

 

 

 

Good Life Ambassador

Although I’m relatively new to Jonathan Fields’ Good Life Project, it immediately resonated – deeply – with me.

Here’s a summary of the philosophy, in Jonathan’s own words:

Think of your life as three buckets.

The first bucket is called Vitality, and it’s about the state of your mind and body. The second is Connection; this one is about relationships. The third, Contribution, is about how you contribute to the world.

The fuller your buckets, the better your life. When all simultaneously bubble over, life soars. That’s what we’re aiming for. But the flip side is also true. If any single bucket runs dry, you feel pain. If two go empty, a world of hurt awaits. If all three bottom out, you don’t have a life. Figuratively and, in short order, literally.

A large part of this attraction to Good Life Project stems from where I’m at now in my own life, namely a deep search for personal happiness.

I jumped at the recent opportunity to become a Good Life Ambassador, and I’ll be sharing what I learn here in the coming months.

Meanwhile, this just arrived:

img_0844

This is an advance copy of Jonathan’s upcoming book, but it can also be pre-ordered here. The release date is October 18th.

I’m really excited about this!