As most of you know I have been writing stories about inclusion, diversity, and acceptance for many years now. My latest project, Eximius, will be heading into its third year. Given that I have another “day job” I am often forced to ask myself what it is that I am trying to accomplish, what is the Point?
Being a dad and an orthopedic surgeon is all that I can manage some days. The job of an surgeon can be incredibly stressful. Working as an author doesn’t sound like it can be as stressful in comparison. However, It can be very demoralizing trying to make an impact in the publishing industry. No matter how hard you work or the quality of what you do sometimes it just doesn’t catch on. Your hopes and dreams of people all over the world feeling what you feel just doesn’t happen.
Sometimes, after being up all night dealing with people not a their best who have been in accidents, I find myself emotionally drained. When I am in this state I look at my efforts on the advocacy and publishing side and say to myself, I am doing all I can, what is the point? Everyone faces these same questions, some of us face this question every day. Just because I am a surgeon, a dad, an author doesn’t mean these feelings are unique to my own stresses it just means that the answer has to be unique to me. These questions are something that everyone at some point in their life will have to answer. People will have to answer that question if they are to keep going, and that answer will be different to everyone.
A study just came out saying that we are psychologically completely different people in our 40’s then we are as kids. Most of us understand that growing up changes us. However, its not just the clock, its kids, relationships, jobs, experience that changes us. That smooth round pebble in the creek bed didn’t start out smooth and round. It took many years of force changing its shape for it to become what it is now no matter what it looked like when it started. So as humans the forces that effect us throughout our lives change and shapes us. if we aren’t changed by our experiences then nothing has happened to us.
There is an acronym used to describe difficult things that happen to kids called ACES (adverse childhood experiences ) that we know can have great impacts on those kids for the rest of their lives. So we have to except that what has happened to us effects who we are and the we cannot take that away, we can’t change history. In that moment when all these forces to come to bear on us we often ask ourselves what is the point?
I am at that point in my life when I want to have an impact on the world greater then my immediate family. I want the world to be a better place for me having been in it. I know this all sounds cliche, but it is the truth. On those days when my message that I send out gets no response no matter how important I think it is, its hard not to get a little depressed that other people don’t get it.
Why try? What is the point? Isn’t it enough to be a good father, surgeon, husband?
We are trying very hard to get Eximius going and I have begun to feel sorry for myself that maybe it isn’t worth it.
The answer to that question of what the point is came to me on my birthday. My oldest daughter watched the video to my latest kickstarter and texted me, completely unsolicited.
“You are doing so much more than i think you realize, it’s not just for the community of disabled people, you’re truly saving and changing lives Dad – and that’s something that’s so precious I can’t even put it into words. That feeling and that action are to precious for words. I’m so proud to be your daughter and to be a part of this family :)”
I realized at that exact moment (after I wiped my eyes off) even if not another person ever saw what I was trying to do that the fact my daughter saw it for what it was meant that she was going to pass it on. Those greater forces that have effected and shaped me into the stone I was today were my family. If my daughter could see the value in what I was doing, that meant a generation of people was heading in a positive direction. The aim for all of us, is to make the world a better place for our children. If our kids keep going down that path than maybe things will be OK. I don’t have to change the world with one tweet or post. I don’t have to sell millions of books.
I have to get out of bed everyday and strive to be a better person and keep trying. Because… the people that matter the most to me are watching. It is those people , Brenna, Devon, and Ian that are our future and give me hope. Set the example, because the example is the message, even if you think no one is listening or watching. Someone is, and they matter.