Just okay

These two articles really resonated with me. One from today’s New York Times and another from a blog, written some time ago.

Am I okay with a mediocre life? All of my life I have been an overachiever. In fourth grade, we were assigned a state and we had to write a paper on that state by the end of the year. This was in the early days of the Internet. In order to write a paper, you actually had to go to the library, use the Dewey decimal system, find your books, take notes, and then write. I vividly recall freaking out in December because I was worried that my paper, due in May, would not be completed in time.

One of my earliest friends recalls a transportation presentation that I blew out of the park in sixth grade – she still talks about it to this day, and it is probably the only reason we became friends.

In eight grade, I swept the middle school award assembly – my name seemed to be called after every category. It was almost comical.

I could go on, but in sum: everything honors, AP classes, SATs, Ivy League, MCATs, medical school, matching into a competitive residency, academic practice.

And here I am today: a husband, two kids, a home of our own, great careers, good health. I’m happy, but I’m not sure if I should be wanting more. I see people around me opening up their own practices, starting their own companies, becoming Insta-famous, working as media experts, creating ground-breaking innovations, involved in amazing research, and on and on. It all looks and sounds great but sometimes the thought of it just makes me tired (it may be the thought but also highly likely that it’s the kids). I like my quiet life: quality time with family, taking great care of my patients, teaching residents and medical students, barebones social media presence, just trying to be better every day.

Is this enough? It sure feels like it, but does this mean that I am done being an overachiever? When is it okay to stop wanting more? For someone constantly in motion, when is it okay to stop and just be?

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