Just before I began this blog I was pondering something personal and rather annoying. Last evening I had been sharing some of my frustrations with a fellow physician over the changes in our profession and as I sat before this blank page it came to me. Be optimistic. Out of the blue, without warning or even reason, it came.
I think it was because I also suddenly realized how fortunate most of us are to be living in this time and in this country. For thousands of years our ancestors suffered, really suffered on a daily basis. Early hominids likely scavenged for food, fought off powerful predators, feared horrific attacks by rival tribes, watched their children die early and frequently, saw their wives die in childbirth, suffer from infections, bad teeth, blindness in ways that are easily treatable today.
No one had to worry about end of life care. Death came unexpectedly and swiftly for most. Children often died in the process of being born or shortly afterwards. Fear was truly the default emotion for mankind. Anthropologists and paleontologists have confirmed these findings when unearthing the remains of early man. Traumatic injuries, evidence of broken bones, wounds inflicted by weapons were a common cause of death for all ages and sexes.
America is not a perfect utopia. But it is a pretty amazing place to live. No one forces anyone to come, or to stay. This country was founded on optimism. Everyone’s ancestors came here with the hope that their lives would be better…..and especially the lives of their children and grandchildren. They had no guarantees.
Today we complain about taxes, the mess of Obamacare, the frustration with our political leaders, our lack of good jobs etc. etc. Yet if we stop to consider what our ancestors had to endure we might just be silent, and grateful.
And, yes, even optimistic.