Taking note of the small "delights" that are around us can make each day more joyful. Doing so can enhance your sense of well-being and gratitude.
Lifelong Learning in Clinical Excellence | February 19, 2020 | 1 min read
By Mariah Robertson, MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
We’re constantly confronted with negative news, and sometimes I find myself overwhelmed. This week I decided to switch off the news and seek solace. Couched between episodes on #MeToo and other difficult but important topics, “This American Life” released episode 692, “The Show of Delights.” This is an episode dedicated to the small delights all around us and helped me realize that I’ve been neglecting the small and beautiful things. This is not to suggest that we stick our heads in the sand, but instead it’s a suggestion to also look for daily delights.
As a geriatrician, I was particularly drawn to the portion of the episode dedicated to Mrs. Meek, a 72-year-old who discovered her delight late in life after she spent much of it giving of herself to others. She decided to focus her days only on things that bring her joy and included nothing on her daily schedule that she didn’t want to do. She noted that at times, she felt selfish. Ultimately, she decided that she deserves only daily delights at this point in her life.
No one is promised tomorrow
I’ve been reflecting a lot on this idea of waiting until elderhood, until retirement, until I’ve given enough of myself before I start to relish doing the things I want to do. Our society certainly makes it feel like we can’t do both, but perhaps this is part of the mindset that fosters burnout in clinicians. In fact, clinicians are also the most keenly aware that no one is promised tomorrow and certainly, no one is promised to make it to elderhood.
So I leave the reader (and myself) with two questions:
1. What would it look like to make each day more of what you want to do? More of what delights you?
2. Why are you waiting until some arbitrary time in the future to do this?
I certainly don’t have the answers, but I’m actively seeking them. If nothing else, listen to this episode of “This American Life” and let yourself giggle.