Don’t get me wrong, I love education, research, and scientific discovery. But many of my most valuable insights during my career haven't come from a symposium or a journal article—they've come from my patients. These experiences put a face on a theory or provide meaningful context to scientific principles. Sometimes my patients just teach me life lessons that I relay to future patients—no data required.
When I was about 9 years old, someone in our small country church began selling vitamins. I don't know how long they stayed in the business before they gave up to move on to join a pyramid scheme where they sold super-concentrated laundry detergents, glass cleaner and toothpaste that had ground egg shells in it.
Barring some unforeseen longevity, I won't be around in fifty years. Who knows, I may not make it 'til tomorrow. As morbid as it is to ponder, someday I’ll join the great majority. My last breath will usher in lost opportunities to interact with my family and friends, and my relationships with acquaintances will come to a halt like a plant that succumbs to a hard freeze before it flowers.