This year we have had our fair shares of many unfortunates. We also have had our fair shares of unbelievable good fortunes. I think it's just a part of life: the good and the bad, the lesser and the blessed. Life gives us unexpected circumstances. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don't. But if we just remember that we learn more from hardships, then maybe we wouldn't be so hard on ourselves for our failures.
Our team has gone through some dizzying situations. We have accepted that we might have to deal with it for another month. There are conditions that we cannot control, as there are people we cannot influence no matter how hard we try. Some people are just shameless. They lie and cheat with no hesitation.
Even as we cruise under a dark cloud, we also receive so many gratitudes. We had patients and colleagues sending their appreciation for our work and assistance. For the first time in my career, a patient gave me a tip because he has found his dental home after more than 10 years of absenteeism. Needless to say, Bob and I went for Korean BBQ lunch that day. It was fun. We apologized to our afternoon patients for smelling like BBQ smoke.
Hardship does bring people together. We are stronger today as a team. We learned to keep moving and keep laughing. Everyday is a new start. We are thankful for the continual support of our wonderful dental families. We succeed because we have great patients. We look forward to seeing you all in 2024 and meeting new people along the way. Have a great time with your families this Thanksgiving.
Lunch at the Korean BBQ restaurant courtesy of our patient's generosity.
Team MacGyver- we had a long case and had to use a lid to keep moving without blinding ourselves. It's team work that makes the dream work. As difficult as it was, we finished the case cracking ourselves up because we were "innovative."
2023 has been such a bad year for so many people. With the Russian-Ukraine war not yet done, the Israel-Hamas war starts. More than 11,000 collateral lives lost in Gaza thus far, almost half of them being under 18 y.o. Every war is complicated. We should always remind each other that there is usually a long history of aggression in wars and fingers are typically pointing in the opposite direction of self. Within one month, we saw more than 14,000 lives lost.
Also, within one month, I attended 2 celebrations of life. One expected and one unexpected. One lived his life to the fullest, the other drifted through. Worldwide, we have a current humanitarian crisis in the Middle East. In the Bay Area, we have a homeless crisis. We have a lot of crises but it'll become a political issue if I address everything. Then again, almost everything is a political issue or somehow will offend someone.
But this weekend during my walk, I saw people gathering and heard laughter so loud, it was contagious. I saw young girls cheerleading, young boys with their footballs and young men with their cars all on display. It was such an exuberant atmosphere that it could lift anyone's mood. For so long, there was darkness and clouds. For one bright and warm day, there was happiness galore. Maybe the weather can rebuild our society again and lessen our aggression towards each other by bringing people outside to socialize.
Picture 1: Young men and their decked out cars on display. There were lots of cool cars to admire.
Picture 2: Young boys playing football while the girls are getting ready for a cheerleading contest. Such a fun and joyful event.
2 different events on the same day at nearby locations.
The other day I was standing in line at Costco with my son to pick up our food order. The line was long and we were waiting for a few minutes already. A second employee yelled out his window that it’s now opened. My son and I waited for people in front of us to move to the second line first. Suddenly, an adolescent boy ran to take a spot in front of me. His mom chased and immediately chastised him about cutting in line. He replied in English, “I didn’t cut.” Then in Vietnamese he said, ”They’re dumb. They’re slow so I’m here.” She explained that he mistook politeness for slow and dumb. He refused to leave.
Normally, I would just let it go but I was so happy to hear the mom's explanation that I turned to her and said she was absolutely correct. I was waiting for others in front of me to move first because they had been in line longer. I turned to the boy and said I was not dumb or slow. I was being courteous and polite. Embarrassed, Mom apologized and tugged for the boy to go back. Instead, he stayed put and went up to the window to retrieve his order.
The result was not ideal. But I love that this mom was teaching her son social mannerisms. It used to be being polite and courteous to others are expected societal virtues. The boy was about 12 y.o. so he has time to learn. It makes me happy when I see people extending common courtesy to those around them. They don’t even have to be nice, just not so mean. As a gentle reminder to our religious folks, love thy neighbors. For the spiritual yogis, please be kind of my light as I will be to yours. For our atheist friends, respect human rights and common decency.
August marks another round trip accomplishment around the sun for me. it doesn't bother me but every few years, the image staring back at me in the mirror is older looking. Some years it's more beautiful than I thought, some years it's too dreary. I don't like those latter years. But I don't beat myself up because of them either. I just keep on moisturizing as sleep is hard to get nowadays.
This past year, I had lost a colleague and an old friend. I also lost part of my patience because people are mean. We had a patient who complimented our office above and beyond but when the bill came to pay, he didn't criticized the work. He harassed my receptionists everyday via phone calls and emails. He even threatened them. It was too much to be cordial. As professionals, do we have to keep quiet and nod in agreement with this behavior? If you know me, you know the answer. I just move onto the next day. Time heals a lot as it calms the mind to forget the intensity of anger. Vengeance is the opposite but the idea of it also calms the mind to forget the intensity of anger.
As I lost people and patience, I've also gained people and patience around me. Our office is growing nicely and we're having so much fun. Like I've always said, our patient population is 95% good , the other lowly 5% unfortunately occupies way too much space and time in my office's conscience. But they also nudge me begrudgingly to be patient. My kids have mastered this skill with me. It's embarrassing to admit but it is pure truth.
This past year, we also celebrated new births, marriages and accomplishments. I forget sometimes to live in the moment. I'm bogged down with everyday chores and routines. I love dentistry so I accept the load. I love raising my kids so I also accept the busyness of it. Wishing for more time is crazy because who wants a 26 hours day? Wishing to go back in time is nonsense. I doubt if I would ever be able to do that so I don't want to waste time thinking about it. However, wishing to win the lotto is more realistic, even at 1 in 300,000,000 chance. So I will wish to win the lotto one day. At this rate, I would even take winning $1000. Here's to taking the little things to make us happy. Here's to another round trip around the life provider of a big giant star. Cheers!
One of the many birthday treats throughout the week. I was so happy and grateful for the sweets.
July is when Americans celebrate Independence Day. It's our independence from the British back in 1776. 247 years later in 2023, a lot of that independence is taken away or withheld. Our conservative Supreme Court justices swore not to reverse any decisions that were made previous to their appointment. Yet, here we are fighting for our right to have autonomy over our bodies, how or who can vote, and what or how history is interpreted to our students. One-by-one, they pick and choose the most controversial issues to overturn.
Abortion is a medical issue, between the patient and her doctor. I'm not saying abortion at every stage is legit. I'm saying taking it away at 6 weeks is bullying of the female citizen. Someone else besides me has the authority over my body to carry an unwanted baby? The "unwanted" can be any reason: rape, incest, medical, etc. Will the people fighting for its life take care of it when it's a member of the LGBTQ+ community? Or will that be frowned upon as it is now? In Florida, there's even a "Don't Say Gay" law. Seriously, because being gay is unacceptable to those lawmakers. In the Bible, Jesus asked those without sins to cast the first stone against Mary Magdalene. Everyone walked away and she became one of his disciples.
Back in 1920, women were granted the right to vote. Today, voting districts are being drawn over to give a certain advantage to the majority party. Today, society has gone so crazy for red or blue that common sense seems to disappear. Not everyone is going to be happy with all the rules and regulations but at least make it where the majority of the people can be happy about it. We are so divided as a country that you have to pick a side. You can't be purple or in the happy middle.
I am not complaining as I live in the bubble of Silicon Valley. We have our own economy and we are very liberal. We also have lots of conservatives. However, we manage to live side-by-side in enough harmony to continue this economic growth. This place celebrates uniqueness and individualism. You can be who you are, just don't bother your neighbors. Does it hurt your feelings to see me dress a certain way? Or to see me kiss someone? Why wouldn't you think you're hurting my feelings because you dress a certain way or kiss another heterosexual? Feelings and emotions go both ways. I hope one day the few people who get to make the laws understand they are working for the majority, not the few. I also hope that people become more tolerant of others and be more accepting of differences. If not, there's a quote my patient has at the end of his email that is very wise: Build a bridge and get over it.