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What Calvin Can Teach Physicians about Work-Life Balance


2011 was a good year, a year where I set and reached numerous goals. And, I guess I did it all without any formal resolutions to speak of.

I imagine a large number of you out there are Calvin and Hobbes fans. You probably remember the cartoon from years ago in which Hobbes asks Calvin if he made a New Year’s resolution. Calvin responds “Heck no, I’m fine just the way I am. Why should I change?” We all giggle at the egomaniacal Calvin and his overly healthy self-image. However, for all those overachieving perfectionists out there like me, we could probably benefit from a small dose of Calvin’s philosophy on life.

At the beginning of each new year, I review my list of goals from the year before. This year, as I sat down with my notebook, I made a startling discovery. I either forgot or neglected to come up with any type of list for 2011. As I was in the middle of a job change, it’s possible that I was just too busy to construct one. It’s equally possible that I carefully wrote my ideas down but forgot where I stashed them. My filing system is extremely robust and organize - and variable. Today, it may make perfect sense for me to file New Year’s resolutions under “R” for resolution while tomorrow, I may file in under “N” for New Year’s. You get the idea.

At any rate, I have to say that 2011 was, in many respects, a banner year for me. I made a scary job change that worked out marvelously well. I exercised every single week, usually more than once. I ate more salads, but not less chocolate. I finished a novel, surprising myself most of all. I started a writer’s group and we actually have over 30 members one year into it. I took a vacation alone with my husband. It was a good year, a year where I set and reached numerous goals. And, I guess I did it all without any formal resolutions to speak of.

Now it wasn’t a perfect year. I’m still not done with holiday cards. My attempts to organize the toy room fell flat as we still have about 50,000 more toys than we need. I still made an amazing number of impulse buys, about 50 percent of which ended up being regrettable. I could’ve eaten less and exercised more. I didn’t do the triathlon this year. I still haven’t learned calligraphy. I’m more than a year behind on my scrapbooking.

I did write down 10 goals for this year, but I included a new one. Learn to be happy with me just the way I am - my characteristics, world view, appearance, likes, and dislikes. No more trying to change me. I’m going to work on being fine with just the way I am. I’m still going to try to get my book published and finish the year with less material possessions than I started with and all those types of things. But, I’m going to start with the assumption that I’m pretty okay already. Calvin would be proud.

Find out more about Jennifer Frank and our other Practice Notes bloggers.

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