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2022- A Year to Shape our Future.

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Our Year to Shape Our Future

Robert M. Blumm, PA, DFAAPA, PA-C Emeritus

As I sat down and contemplated what I wished to communicate in this first article of the New Year, I thought that it should be challenging, encouraging, contemplative, and oriented to action. Yes, action. Too often we sit down and read or surf over an article and we miss the opportunity for life-changing moments. “The future is not in the hands of fate, but in ours,” Jules Jusserman.

If the future is indeed in our hands, then we must engage both our minds and our will to create this action and to make changes. 2022 is more than a new year: it is an opportunity for everyone to restart. As we begin this year, the pages are blank. We are going to put the words in the new year by our actions or inactions – the challenge is on our shoulders. Edith Lovejoy Pierce calls the new year a book and says that it is called Opportunity. Our work in the community is to heal – what we do for our families, ourselves, our legacy, our patients, our profession, our security. What aspects of our lives can we restart?

Part of the challenge is to discover what new information we can learn and decide how we will assimilate this information. How can we restructure our lives to enjoy our loved ones, our spouses, our children, and our grandchildren? How can we build a hedge of protection around our family unit? What is available for us in order to fulfill this desire to restart? We are in desperate need of metamorphosis from tired, overworked healthcare providers in the midst of an international pandemic; from defending and securing our own rights and responsibilities, to making changes in what we consume, to how many hours we work, and last but not least, looking at our personal life and caring for our own needs and that of our families. We must be revitalized by proper sleep patterns; we need to focus on the most important thing in our lives which must include family time and vacation. We need to focus on our families and create ethical, moral, conscientious, and sensitive humans who will eventually care for us and our planet in this ‘twinkling of the eye’ called the future. “There are only two lasting bequests we can give our children… one is roots and the other is wings,” Stephen Covey.

All that we accomplish by our education, our degrees, and certificates, the work in the community, all our awards and trophies – they will all pass and be forgotten in the annals of time. How we give ourselves to our families and those yet to come will be an indelible legacy endured for future generations. It is important to recognize that we are making decisions today that will affect our lives and that of our families and their security.

Our parents warned us of the abuse of alcohol and its ability to destroy our lives and alter our goals. They encouraged us to refrain from the use of drugs which would alter our minds and create addiction. They taught us from early childhood to brush our teeth to prevent decay and gum problems such as gingivitis and the loss of our teeth in the future. They were correct although they may have never attained our level of education. They told us not to expose ourselves to the sun for lengthy times, yet it is only in the past twenty to thirty years that we learned that excessive sun exposure causes skin cancers such as basal cell cancer, squamous cell cancer, and deadly melanoma. I worked in many fields of medicine and surgery but devoted much of my time to plastic surgery where patients presented in droves because of early sun exposure. Each generation shares its insights to protect and prevent poor decisions.

Change is a difficult chore and to restructure and restart takes an abundance of energy. Most importantly, it requires a plan. Only you can develop that plan, not myself or any guru that happens upon the stage of life. It is a personal decision and an urgent task that requires forethought and a mantra. Catherine Ponde has a mantra that she used, and perhaps we can see some light in her words – “I am an irresistible magnet, with the power to attract unto myself everything that I divinely desire, according to the thoughts, feelings, and mental pictures I constantly entertain and radiate. I am the center of my universe! I have the power to create whatever I wish. I attract whatever I radiate. I attract whatever I mentally choose and accept. I begin choosing and mentally accepting the highest and best in life. I now choose and accept health, success, and happiness. I now choose lavish abundance for myself and for all mankind. This is a rich, friendly universe and I dare to accept its riches, its hospitality, and to enjoy them now.” True change and true self-care will always comprise both attitude and action.

I generally write to PAs and NPs about their lifestyles and futures. My concern is based on the current amount of burnout from over-utilization in caring for Covid patients as well as the personal load of patients that is rising expeditiously. We are engaged in stress related work every day, from defending our title, to making adjustments in our scheduling, and trying to be on the frontline of knowledge of new guidelines. This is a year to restart and prioritize our lives.

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