Dr. Bob: I’m just so tired of people needing me all the time. I mean, I’m always getting these annoying phone calls in the middle of the night: “So-and-so is having her baby, can you come down right away?” It’s exhausting. I’m so sick of it.
Me: Um…you’re an anesthesiologist. Didn’t it occur to you during your 7 years of med school that people would be needing you?
Dr. Bob: Yeah, but I’m just saying I’m so sick of it. I’m not happy at all with my life right now. I’d rather be traveling or something.
Me: So quit. Do something else. Life’s short.Dr. Bob: What are you, crazy!? Do you know how much time and money I’ve spent becoming a doctor? Do you know what kind of a lifestyle I’d have to give up? You totally don’t get it, do you?
Me: Check, please!
I went home, closed the door behind me with a sigh of relief, and realized that Dr. Bob had unwittingly just taught me about the vast chasm between “simple” and “easy.” Having invested many years and many more dollars becoming a doctor, Dr. Bob claimed to be extremely dissatisfied and not well suited to the medical profession. The simple answer, as far as I was concerned, was to change course completely and pursue a life that was both personally and professionally gratifying.
But changing horses in midstream, as it were, would invite a fair amount of upheaval and some anxiety, to say nothing of the logistical challenges involved. Such a bold course of action, saturated with the simple truth that life is too short to squander in unhappy pursuits, would not be easy to carry out, which is why Dr. Bob erupted in frustration.
We human beings have a persistent tendency to over-complicate our lives. But the expansive, 360-degree truth of who we are–who we are meant to be–is usually pretty simple, if we take the time to look for it. Oscar Wilde said it best:
Life is not complex. We are complex. Life is simple, and the simple thing is the right thing.
Give me the simple life.