A happy new year to you and your loved ones. I wanted to start 2019 off with a post that’s not about dentistry, but about friendships, family and the importance of taking the time to rest, relax and recharge.
I have been fortunate enough to make lasting friendships over the years. I often joke that these friendships are what have kept me in the right lane through ups and downs and I am truly thankful for the friends I have in my life. I have been in constant touch with about ten people who have been with me through thick and thin in the past 25 years or so. All of them, along with my parents, husband and daughter have kept me grounded while enabling me to become who I am.
Today I want to talk about one of these truly special friends. We keep in touch maybe once or twice a year, a little more if we need each other’s advice. He usually writes me a long email to wish me on my birthday in which he tells me about what’s been going on in his life and asks me about mine.
Saravanan and I went to dental school together back in Chennai, India in the late 90s. He joined our college in the middle of the program and got transferred there after his dad passed away. He was very shy and quiet, extremely smart, almost always making top grades. We shared a love of reading, became fast friends and came up with cartoon character nicknames for each other. He still calls me Scoob.
After graduating, he told me that dentistry was not his thing as he was not passionate about it. I understand now that he needed to be intellectually challenged constantly and he wasn’t getting that in dentistry. He followed his heart and passion.
He went on to become a senior IT manager at a multinational firm.
In his most recent email, he mentioned something about hanging up his boots soon! I chided him lightheartedly and told him to stop being so self-deprecating. I nudged him to set his eyes higher on the corporate ladder, with the kind of potential I knew he had.
He then told me that he had been working 12-plus-hour days for months together. He had recently had an episode of Bell’s palsy that his doctor attributed to stress. For the uninitiated, this is a type of facial paralysis with varying symptoms. He said that it took him six weeks to regain the functionality on the left side of his face. It was not an easy phase as he had to retrain himself to learn to speak articulately or eat. He is extremely grateful to have regained his health but cautioned me to take care of my health as he understands the stress involved in our profession.
He reminded me to take regular breaks from work stress and to take care of myself.
This past Holiday season, I took his reminder to heart. I took time off work to be with my family and friends. We took a road trip, connected with each other and with friends in other cities, soaked in natural sights and just took some time to slow down, unwind and recharge our batteries.
As passionate as I am about my practice and caring for my patients, I realize that I need to be in the best of mental, physical and emotional health for me to deliver my best at work. And for that, I need to hit pause on work and take a break every now and then.
This January, I am thankful for the break I took and happy to be back, recharged and ready for all that the new year brings.
We at V Smile wish you a very happy new year. I want to remind you to slow down, stop and set aside time to de-stress.
Smell the roses and floss every day:) #vsmilefamily #teamvsmile
My best always,
Dr Vijaya Kallam