I know that this blog often touches on my innermost thoughts and feelings, heck, that is what it was meant to do.
Yet, I don’t often veer into my family.
The main reason for this relates to, I guess in clinical practice you would call it, information governance, although more simply put, privacy and permission.
Although it is common practice these days to share your most intimate pictures online – I don’t mean rude photos, more, images of unborn children, kids’ first day at school and so on, with the world, I was pulled-up by my children, informing me that they don’t necessarily want everyone to see them at focal points in their lives. (Or, I later learned have Google own their images for later use).
Fair enough. I stopped sending round pictures of my kids a few years ago.
If you want to meet my children, come and have dinner.
I appreciate I am going off-piste here, particularly when the starting point was shin pads.
Well, what I really wanted to discuss was my now working conditions.
As some of you might already know, a few months ago I turned my professional life upside down and moved from being a hospital doctor to working part-time as a partner in a GP practice (yes, Rod’s first!) and part time as a community geriatrician/physician.
(I use the ‘/’ as I hate thinking of myself as a geriatrician – I feel it somehow objectifies older people – anyway, that is the proper name and, ‘doctor supporting the needs of older people’ is a bit of a mouthful (does anyone have an alternative Greek/Latin neologism?)).
Essentially, half the week, and this is the point, I work in the same building, the same practice, four doors down, from my partner (and here it is also confusing as we aren’t married, hence, partner ‘life’ and partner ‘work’) (partner-partner?).
Many of us spend a greater proportion of our lives at work than doing anything else (that is, unless you have a very long-retirement). We spend more hours with work colleagues than with our family or friends, more time at work than at our hobbies or leisure. That is just the way it is (and the main big reason why being unhappy at work means you are unhappy in everything.)
Now, having been separated from my family, for the past 20-odd years at work, I can, half the week, pop down the corridor and see Anne. Say hello. Chat.
My life has turned upside down – for the better.
For all my relations at work, and, I love you guys, this is mostly 9 to 5 or whatever hours we keep; Anne and I are for life and these little bits of daytime enrichment make me happy.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to work in the same building or department as their husband or wife or children (although I know two sisters who work in the same nursing home and they seem to enjoy the experience) – we evolved all that time ago to live in little groups, not clans, communities or nations, but families. This is the basic unit of human existence.
We have spent more time as humans living in small intimate groups, knowing one another, understanding the rhythms and nuances of one another’s lives than we have lived in tribes, villages or cities.
We have evolved to spend lots of time in the company of those we love.
And this is potentially one of the reasons why depression, loneliness, anxiety and functional disease are so endemic in society today.
I am not suggesting we return to small groups who hunter-gather (that is long gone), more, we acknowledge the importance of work and even greater relevance of work-life balance and informality of relationship.
And, what about the shin-pads?
Well, thanks to an internal instant messaging system, the following was generated:
My daughter having mislaid her shin-pads for pre-season practice.
I could have sent a text or WhatsApp, but this older form of communication was easier, more direct, and, I was able to check-in when they were found.
This isn’t rocket science. It is just bringing people together.
Re-emphasising the human in human being.
Be well everyone.