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  • Nathan Riley, MD

The Grind


It usually starts in your late twenties. You leave the college optimism behind as you embark on your less-than-dream profession. You work hard towards a distant goal and begin to accumulate wealth and materials. To protect these things, you begin to fear everything, from the sun to the earth to your own mortality. You stop smiling. You stop talking to strangers. You forget to call your mom. Your health begins to deteriorate. Your value system begins to revolve more around material things and status quo and less around people and the grittier curiosities of life. The more you earn, the more you fear, the unhappier you get. You are living the American dream, and, gradually, you lose grasp of the universe and your dreams. You eventually become bored, wanderlusting through social media at every dull moment, seeking any stimulus in your otherwise pastel world. You have material wealth but you are otherwise hollow of substance and more afraid than ever. Then, one cloudy day, you lose the health and potential you had so taken for granted. In retrospect, you could have focused from the start on those things upon which legacies are built: connection, compassion, service, consciousness, and building a world beyond hatred and greed. This unpopular alternative would have required courage, but the benefits are plenty: love, strength, adaptability, longevity and happiness. Most importantly of all, as opposed to your assets, people would have craved your connection — real human connection. The decision is yours to be brave and step forward to a new beginning.

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