Friday Reflections: Looking back on life and teaching the young

Don’t misread this as a political statement, but I really like reading David Brooks. He makes me think; his take on things helps me understand what’s happening in the world around me. He’s smart, thoughtful and considers both sides of an argument before taking a stand. That’s what good doctors do. (And to be honest, I consider peeking at the NY Times as a soothing respite from the other newspaper.)

In this morning’s column, Mr Brooks asked that 70 year-olds write him reports on their life—what they have learned, regretted, etc. His mission in this endeavor was dual: to allow people to celebrate the good in their life and to teach young people.

Both are amazingly heart-heart healthy behaviors.

Don’t worry, I don’t plan on recounting my life. That would be even less interesting than a medical or cycling blog.

But it got me thinking about my area of medicine. As a heart rhythm doctor, I witness life played out in every age group. Just this afternoon, I saw a 17 year-old followed by an 84 year-old. That’s pretty cool. What would be niftier though, would be possessing the magical power to impart the lessons of the old to the young.

Today, an older patient mused on how he lost weight. “This may seem overly simple doc, but do you realize how little we really have to eat.” (Dang it, why wasn’t my iPhone on record?)

That’s one example, here’s another nooget that I heard the other day: “Doc…ever since I cut my work hours, stopped worrying about producing so much and starting exercising regularly, my arrhythmia got better.”

When I hear wisdom like this I wish for an app or something that could osmos-it to my younger patients—or to me sometimes. Why can’t I explain it better?

It’s good to celebrate what we have had, what we have learned and what we would do differently. And sharing all this wisdom with others: teaching, it’s really good–for the heart.

Isn’t it what parents do? Or doctors? Coaches? Or say it slowly…b-l-a-w-g-e-r-s?

Now let’s go ride!

JMM