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There are thousands of great blogs out there: on cooking, on fitness, on style, on traveling.  The blogger life seems perfect: home-made meals that look gorgeous and taste delicious, toned bodies because all it takes is following a schedule in which you can exercise every day, going to work in tailored (or self-sewn) outfits that look like magazine ads, traveling often enough that you can tell others the best new restaurants in Italy.  I love these blogs, because they make me feel like I could achieve the same.  But the truth is, I can't.  Having spent the last decade of my life training to be a doctor--the decade we've internalized as the time of youth and building of self--I've struggled with balancing how to take care of patients and myself through the process.

There are also many blogs on the patient experience, and the physician experience, that articulate the struggles of being sick and of treating the sick. I love these blogs, because they give value and shape to the difficult things we witness and do.  But I don't want to give voice to this world only. I'd like to bring what I feel in work to my experiences outside of it.

I love my job as a primary care doctor in a community health clinic, getting to know people I would never otherwise meet and getting glimpses into lives so different from mine.  I also love my family and friends, the outdoors, travels, books, exercise, and healthy food. I know that our relationships, hobbies and work-life balance are important to people in any career path, and that more and more our jobs are demanding we make personal sacrifices of these values.

In any job, we are essentially trying to take care of others--directly, or by providing for our families. We all need to find accessible, sustainable ways of caring for others and ourselves. I've found that to enjoy the things I love, I can't see my work life only as an obstacle to them, but also as a source of strengthening the rest of my life.  I've learned so much from medicine and from my patients about not only how to take better care of them, but also how to better live my own life.  I feel that by really listening to the needs of people--others and our own--we can find an amazingly fulfilling balance of the two. This is an ongoing collection of listenings. 

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