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What Do You Look Forward To Once You Made It?

AD04

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Some of you are talking about pay cuts during COVID. That has not been my experience. Instead, I switched jobs during COVID and am making much much more -- surgical specialist money.

And over the past several days, I've been asking myself if I am happy. I can't say for certain I am.

The place I am at is high quality. I work with high-caliber partners. All of us are board-certified, hard workers. The decision makers have kept their end of the bargain and more. I am treated very well and I am helping the community immensely. I am well-fed and well-hydrated. And next year, there is a good chance I will make even more. If I stay for 10 years, I'll fatFIRE.

Prior to this, I lived what I envisioned was "the good life": traveling, nice clothes, fine dining, dating, living near the beach. And I can't say I was happy either.

The last time I was happy was a few years ago, as a third-year resident. It was an impromptu hangout with a girl one class above me. We were strolling along the beach until late in the night, talking about life after residency and what it would look like. It felt like I was back in high school or college -- staying up late, being carefree, and dreaming about how bright the future is going to be.

And here I am now. Accomplishing what I set out to accomplish. Experienced a good life. And yet happiness eludes me.

If you are living your dream, are you happy? What brings you happiness?
 
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Bartelby

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I would say I am. Work is a part of it: I enjoy my work setting, I like my colleagues so that it often feels like hanging out with a group of friends throughout the day, and I feel like I am making a real difference in my patients' lives. Combined with my spouse's income finances are going great, which provides a sense of security and removes one potential major stressor. I also get to write and teach, and can see those roles expanding for me.

Beyond that, though, I am in a happy marriage. I have healthy young children and while that comes with many challenges, it is genuinely rewarding to watch them grow and I never really have much time to feel lonely. I love biking, hiking, good food, and just relaxing with Netflix and I live in a place where all of that is available in abundance. We also live in a time where you can stream virtually any of a limitless number of fascinating books, podcasts, etc. on-demand. Adding to that I am fortunate enough to be in good health, living pain-free and without major health concerns on a normal day.

It's not like I walk around feeling hypomanic on a regular basis, and I certainly have my bad days too, but I feel a positive sense of contentment about life and how I'm living it. I think removing meaningful work from that equation would make happiness much more difficult to achieve for me, but what's going on outside of work and the sense of appreciation I have for it all (recognizing just how lucky / fortunate / privileged I am) helps. I think a variety of mental factors, including having undergone my own psychotherapy, meditation, and recognizing the power of underlying thoughts and beliefs about the world (CBT-style) has helped.
 
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Congratulations you are getting older. The wonder of the endless future, like in high school, or college, or med school, and finally residency has now come to an end. The wonder and awe of the future is less because of your life stage. Be mindful, in the moment, and appreciate the little things.

Probably time to get married, have some kids (or adopt?) and watch how quickly your life changes.
 
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nexus73

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Some of you are talking about pay cuts during COVID. That has not been my experience. Instead, I switched jobs during COVID and am making much much more -- surgical specialist money.

And over the past several days, I've been asking myself if I am happy. I can't say for certain I am.

The place I am at is high quality. I work with high-caliber partners. All of us are board-certified, hard workers. The decision makers have kept their end of the bargain and more. I am treated very well and I am helping the community immensely. I am well-fed and well-hydrated. And next year, there is a good chance I will make even more. If I stay for 10 years, I'll fatFIRE.

Prior to this, I lived what I envisioned was "the good life": traveling, nice clothes, fine dining, dating, living near the beach. And I can't say I was happy either.

The last time I was happy was a few years ago, as a third-year resident. It was an impromptu hangout with a girl one class above me. We were strolling along the beach until late in the night, talking about life after residency and what it would look like. It felt like I was back in high school or college -- staying up late, being carefree, and dreaming about how bright the future is going to be.

And here I am now. Accomplishing what I set out to accomplish. Experienced a good life. And yet happiness eludes me.

If you are living your dream, are you happy? What brings you happiness?

What is your new practice setting?
 
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Merovinge

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Some of you are talking about pay cuts during COVID. That has not been my experience. Instead, I switched jobs during COVID and am making much much more -- surgical specialist money.

And over the past several days, I've been asking myself if I am happy. I can't say for certain I am.

The place I am at is high quality. I work with high-caliber partners. All of us are board-certified, hard workers. The decision makers have kept their end of the bargain and more. I am treated very well and I am helping the community immensely. I am well-fed and well-hydrated. And next year, there is a good chance I will make even more. If I stay for 10 years, I'll fatFIRE.

Prior to this, I lived what I envisioned was "the good life": traveling, nice clothes, fine dining, dating, living near the beach. And I can't say I was happy either.

The last time I was happy was a few years ago, as a third-year resident. It was an impromptu hangout with a girl one class above me. We were strolling along the beach until late in the night, talking about life after residency and what it would look like. It felt like I was back in high school or college -- staying up late, being carefree, and dreaming about how bright the future is going to be.

And here I am now. Accomplishing what I set out to accomplish. Experienced a good life. And yet happiness eludes me.

If you are living your dream, are you happy? What brings you happiness?

I'll just start by saying I appreciate your posts on this forum and I think this is a fairly brave post to make as far as anonymous forum posts go.

I think the hypothesis you are operating under, one taught to many from society/family at any early age, that there is a specific "good life" and if you just check off the boxes, a magical fairy will come and make you happy (understandable from a society perspective to promote prosocial behaviors). You made it to med school, completed residency, got a great attending job, make great money, have the flexibility to retire early and know your finances, I mean shouldn't happiness be owed at this point?!? While the real answer to self-actualization is an infinitely complicated answer, I'll leave a few musing for you to consider.

First, I don't think simply finding a partner and/or having children will get you there. My life experiences strongly support that relationships work when both people are solid in themselves and build each other up rather than be present to fill in missing holes.

Second, your brain experiences hedonic adaptation. There is only so much happiness to squeeze out of any purchase, any beach life, any sexual act, etc. While it's absolutely true that travel and life experiences can provide more happiness than material possessions, there is robust evidence to suggest that further financial gains or spending at your income level is unlikely to improve your happiness.

I would consider many MDs to be victims to using external motivation to drive their happiness. Who runs a hamster wheel better than a doctor? We've all had to check boxes, excel to the top our, and follow strict instruction our whole lives. Now that you've been set free, your left to determine what intrinsic motivation is within yourself and it's likely much of that intrinsic drive has been stomped on by years of hamster wheeling.

Your acknowledgement that happiness eludes you is certainly worth further self-reflection. If it were me, I would take a weekend, get into the wilderness somewhere, turn of all electronics, and really take the time to sit in your own thoughts and figure out what you do want to do in life and get out of life. You are in a relatively enviable situation of being in the top 1% of income earners and you do so by helping people instead of being a sycophantic drain on society. However just because the world is your oyster does not mean that you won't end up a sad clam unless you actually are mindful and diligent about working on this.

Dr. Santos work and podcast are a great starting point if you are looking for literature on this topic.
 
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PsyDr

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Mixing different literature bases:

Different configurations of personality variables can produce goal seeking behavior. Some of those configurations are prone to sub-clinical anxiety if not engaged in a goal based project. Conceptually, there is a difference between contentment and happiness. The former is sustainable, the latter is not because of the entire hedonic treadmill/personality variables/opponent process literature.

So what does the research show is helpful? Exercise, sleep adequately, maintain a social support network not to exceed 150, do work that is consistent with your personality and abilities, maintain some sort of active spiritual practice, maintain a hobby, keep a daily journal of things you are grateful for, avoid alcohol like the plague, limit screen time, limit social media, etc.
 
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BiscoDisco

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I think a lot of happiness is generated by a genuine feeling of gratitude. I will often give thanks (to whom exactly, I have no idea) for what I have. Certainly many people have much more than I do, but I am fit, I am healthy, my family is as well, I am a doctor, even on my residency salary and wife's non-medical career, we're making more money than 80% of America. I have friends, I have traveled all over the world...these are the kinds of things I remind myself and tell myself I am lucky and should be grateful. I think over time it will lead to more sustained happiness. It certainly becomes harder to do this when I'm stressed or down in the dumps which doesn't happen too frequently, but still more than I'd like. So it's a work in progress, but bottomline, being genuinely grateful for what you have (and I imagine most of us here have far more than most people) is a big thing imo.

The other piece is acceptance that all of those things are impermanent. I could drop dead tomorrow and while that causes a lot of anxiety primarily for my child, I am mostly at peace with it on a personal level. I think letting go the things you have is also an important component to happiness. Understanding my parents are getting older and will die soon makes me sad, but when the time comes, it will be much easier to handle given I contemplate the impermanence of life almost daily.

I'm far from perfect at doing these things habitually, but I try my best and I think it keeps me happy most of the time.
 
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erg923

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Unless you are a statistical minority (it happens,.but based on your post I'm not sure you are one of them?), a lack of intimate life partners and to a lesser degree, subsequent offspring, can leave one feeling unfulfilled no matter how financially and career successful you are. This is just how humans work. It's in our DNA. I will work until retirement age and maybe beyond, and yes, that's because I will probably have to...as I am by far the primary money maker in my family. This does not bother me at all. Ok, well maybe a little bit. :)

Work is called "work" for a reason! Frankly, I get much more fulfillment and joy (happiness?) with my wife and children than by using any of my educational and career pursuits. I do need both though. And what about any of your spiritual needs and involvement??? Church/Faith community? Knights of Columbus? Community or neighborhood involvement? Other passion hobbies? Cars? Scuba diving? Meteorology? History? Writing?
 
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singasongofjoy

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I'm healthy and so are (for the most part) the people most important to me, I have more than enough money and am living in a socio-cultural context in which it is pretty easy to meet basic needs of me and my family, I mostly get enough sleep, and the way i spend my time day to day is congruent with my values and, for the most part, personality and abilities as PsyDr put it.

I think it largely comes down to relative health, basic needs, and congruence. What leads to congruence for me might be quite different than for someone else. I don't like the beach, loathe shopping for clothes or having anything nice enough that it needs an iron or dry clean, and care more about time than money since I have enough to meet my current and future anticipated needs. But my days are congruent with the other things that I do value and don't exceed my capacity to do successfully, and I can also identify future goals that I might want to pursue so I'm never concerned about being bored. That, to me, is contentment with occasional spikes of joy/happiness. I mean, there are certainly times when shtf personally and/or professionally and I have to remind myself and pull out some DBT skills, but that's the formula I strive for anyway.
 
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TexasPhysician

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I do enjoy my pp, but the best part is that it allows me to pursue the 2 things that make me happy.

1. My kids. They are incredible once they are about 1-2 years old.

2. Entrepreneurship. I enjoy building new companies in different fields. It allows me to constantly learn and grow.
 
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sluox

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Unless you are a statistical minority (it happens,.but based on your post I'm not sure you are one of them?), a lack of intimate life partners and to a lesser degree, subsequent offspring, can leave one feeling unfulfilled no matter how financially and career successful you are.

Bingo. Have a couple of kids and you won't have time to even think about whether you are happy or not--because your happiness is no longer the relevant variable.
 
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ArdorAyurveda

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Playing devil's advocate here.

Why do people say that getting involved in spirituality, having kids, and getting a spouse is the next step?

How is this any different from checking the boxes of professional success and economic security?

Just saying, from a certain perspective, it can all seem like box checking.
 

oldiebutgoodie1211

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Playing devil's advocate here.

Why do people say that getting involved in spirituality, having kids, and getting a spouse is the next step?

How is this any different from checking the boxes of professional success and economic security?

Just saying, from a certain perspective, it can all seem like box checking.

because biologically we aren't here to succeed in our job we’re here to propagate DNA so having kids is among the most fulfilling things you can do
 
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Shufflin

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Finding time to go out and be alone in nature every day brings happiness. There one can find inner peace away from the mental health job, can exercise, can meditate, can pray, can observe those small things in the world that change how you see or feel. Do it daily. I know it sounds terribly simple, but it's true.
 
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birchswing

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because biologically we aren't here to succeed in our job we’re here to propagate DNA so having kids is among the most fulfilling things you can do
The modern human can be defined as having an enormous number of features and qualities superfluous to survival. I don't think it's a fair comparison to say we have a biological imperative like other animals. We can reason in a way that does not compare to other species.

I have pointed out elsewhere that I believe having children is ethically impermissible, and at the time, it was considered off topic. But given that this thread is about cultivating happiness and people are suggesting happiness through conjuring sentient, existing beings out of the ether, thus forced to live lives they did not choose, I think it bears repeating that creating new humans, while extremely easy to do, has ethical ramifications that far dicier than controversial subjects like cloning sheep. I know that people will continue to have children. And I don't think I will change any minds. But this thread puts into stark focus the selfish reasons by which people choose to create new human life—to wake from nonexistence new existence so that the creators suffer less. There should be an extraordinarily compelling reason to continue the experiment of creating new human life. I have not seen it.
 
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sluox

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Playing devil's advocate here.

Why do people say that getting involved in spirituality, having kids, and getting a spouse is the next step?

How is this any different from checking the boxes of professional success and economic security?

Just saying, from a certain perspective, it can all seem like box checking.

From another perspective, they are completely different. Of course, you wouldn't know if you've never had kids. I've never met a parent who feels like having a kid is like box checking. The intention to have a kid can be a form of box checking, but once you have a kid your experience is completely different, in the sense that having a kid is exactly the opposite of "finishing" something.

I have pointed out elsewhere that I believe having children is ethically impermissible, and at the time, it was considered off topic. But given that this thread is about cultivating happiness and people are suggesting happiness through conjuring sentient, existing beings out of the ether, thus forced to live lives they did not choose, I think it bears repeating that creating new humans, while extremely easy to do, has ethical ramifications that far dicier than controversial subjects like cloning sheep. I know that people will continue to have children. And I don't think I will change any minds. But this thread puts into stark focus the selfish reasons by which people choose to create new human life—to wake from nonexistence new existence so that the creators suffer less. There should be an extraordinarily compelling reason to continue the experiment of creating new human life. I have not seen it.

Doesn't matter what you think. The cool magic about being a parent is that you no longer give a damn about non-parents' opinion of what parenting is like. Theoretical questions concerning the ethics of having a kid are just completely irrelevant.
 
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birchswing

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From another perspective, they are completely different. Of course, you wouldn't know if you've never had kids. I've never met a parent who feels like having a kid is like box checking. The intention to have a kid can be a form of box checking, but once you have a kid your experience is completely different, in the sense that having a kid is exactly the opposite of "finishing" something.



Doesn't matter what you think. The cool magic about being a parent is that you no longer give a damn about non-parents' opinion of what parenting is like. Theoretical questions concerning the ethics of having a kid are just completely irrelevant.
I wish I could say whatever floats your boat, but the problem is it's not your boat. I have no ill will toward people who have children or the children they create. I know this will continue for a long time. Though birth rates have certainly taken a nose dive.
 

ArdorAyurveda

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@sluox I hear you. I just feel like when it gets to these discussions of happiness and contentment, the same advice is repeated over and over again, as if there is some one size fits all answer to existence. I'm just not convinced anyone really has all the answers. Maybe there are no answers, just explanations that people come up with, answers that satisfy our individual reward centers moreso than others.

I will say, though, that I am a fan of the going-out-into-nature school of thought. Just had my first camping trip ever a few weeks ago. Very enjoyable, can't wait to do it again. Camping opportunities are even impacting where I'm thinking about applying for residency...
 

oldiebutgoodie1211

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@sluox I hear you. I just feel like when it gets to these discussions of happiness and contentment, the same advice is repeated over and over again, as if there is some one size fits all answer to existence. I'm just not convinced anyone really has all the answers. Maybe there are no answers, just explanations that people come up with, answers that satisfy our individual reward centers moreso than others.

I will say, though, that I am a fan of the going-out-into-nature school of thought. Just had my first camping trip ever a few weeks ago. Very enjoyable, can't wait to do it again. Camping opportunities are even impacting where I'm thinking about applying for residency...

if you look at the happiness research there definitely are answers..obviously the answers do not apply to literally everyone but they apply to the majority of people. The majority of people find happiness in many things, one being having kids, that’s not one size fits all that’s just a phenomenon and part of being human. Animals/humans want to have kids, doesn’t mean everyone wants to but if you don’t have kids you’re probably missing out
 
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LasVagus

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OP, one of the things that you describe is missing the excitement of imagining your future. I can definitely relate to that. I used to periodically text my best friend: "I'm nostalgic for the intensity of my youthful dreams". The problem is that the older you get, the more constrained your possible futures become by the choices that you've already made. Therefore, as you age, the known of your life becomes larger and the unknown gets smaller. I don't know what the antidote to this wistfulness is, but one thing seems clear to me: if you want to enjoy your middle age (and beyond) then your satisfaction has to come from something other than fantasizing about the future. Huh, maybe that's why my elders are always telling me about the importance of being present.
 
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Psychresy

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wtf lol I don’t think anyone would recommend using a psychedelic especially not doctors

Well a lot of people would recommend it, though I'd agree most would not. Although considering most who make up the world of medicine I'd imagine most who advise against it have no real experience to base that on.
 
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Take it from someone that was a bachelor and not the "marrying" or "kid" type. Nothing can touch your heart like your kid. And it is something you can truly only understand once you are a parent. It is also nice to have someone(s) to come home to. I do not feel alone anymore. I have accomplished every goal I have set for myself years ago. My goal now is to provide for my kids and help them reach their goals. And I guess play some golf, work, and I do love my Range Rover Supercharged......lol
 
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Bartelby

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I have pointed out elsewhere that I believe having children is ethically impermissible, and at the time, it was considered off topic. But given that this thread is about cultivating happiness and people are suggesting happiness through conjuring sentient, existing beings out of the ether, thus forced to live lives they did not choose, I think it bears repeating that creating new humans, while extremely easy to do, has ethical ramifications that far dicier than controversial subjects like cloning sheep. I know that people will continue to have children. And I don't think I will change any minds. But this thread puts into stark focus the selfish reasons by which people choose to create new human life—to wake from nonexistence new existence so that the creators suffer less. There should be an extraordinarily compelling reason to continue the experiment of creating new human life. I have not seen it.

I don't really buy that argument. It is true without a doubt that people who do not exist yet cannot give consent or assent to being created. The impossibility of obtaining consent, however, does not automatically make an act unethical.

Just like you might seek to make a decision in the best interest of an unconscious patient, you might reasonably conclude that a child would want to be born based on the fact that most individuals who are living want to continue living and are glad they exist. Of course some people do not want to go on living, but that is a relative minority within the population and even for that population they are likely to spend most of theirtime without any wish for their life to end.
 
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sluox

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OP, one of the things that you describe is missing the excitement of imagining your future. I can definitely relate to that. I used to periodically text my best friend: "I'm nostalgic for the intensity of my youthful dreams". The problem is that the older you get, the more constrained your possible futures become by the choices that you've already made. Therefore, as you age, the known of your life becomes larger and the unknown gets smaller. I don't know what the antidote to this wistfulness is, but one thing seems clear to me: if you want to enjoy your middle age (and beyond) then your satisfaction has to come from something other than fantasizing about the future. Huh, maybe that's why my elders are always telling me about the importance of being present.

I have to say, my current was not one of the possible futures that I imagined for myself when I was 22. In particular w.r.t. money, but also to a lesser extent the nature of the job itself. My current has exceeded the wildest expectation of my 22-year-old self but along a completely different dimension. So if I measure myself by the dimension that I cared about when I was 22, I wouldn't be very happy, but the factual reality is so clear and indisputable that the only logical explanation is the expectation with which I was measuring myself at 22 was way too narrow.

This only makes me think that the future I will have in 25 years may also be less "constrained" as one might think.
 
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BiscoDisco

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I have to say, my current was not one of the possible futures that I imagined for myself when I was 22. In particular w.r.t. money, but also to a lesser extent the nature of the job itself. My current has exceeded the wildest expectation of my 22-year-old self but along a completely different dimension. So if I measure myself by the dimension that I cared about when I was 22, I wouldn't be very happy, but the factual reality is so clear and indisputable that the only logical explanation is the expectation with which I was measuring myself at 22 was way too narrow.

This only makes me think that the future I will have in 25 years may also be less "constrained" as one might think.

So much this. There are days now during residency that I sit and think to myself, "Are you seriously doing this?" I never could have imagined myself being someone's psychiatrist when I was 22...or 27 for that matter. I think this is the gratitude part that helps keep us happy. I genuinely feel so lucky to to be where I am...there were so many instances in my life that could have totally derailed me, but I have somehow persevered (through equal parts hard work and luck).

And I agree, just because we are older now, I don't feel my life is less constrained. Life is still totally unpredictable and the future is still wide open. Something I relay to certain patients who are going through a particularly rough patch...you don't have to be hopeful for the future, you just have to have enough curiosity to see what's coming next.
 
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birchswing

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In all seriousness, going out into nature with a psychedelic of choice a few times a year has done wonders for my outlook on life and general happiness.
I remember Steve Jobs saying using LSD was one of the most important things he had ever done in his life. I'm almost positive I'd be one of the "bad trip" people.
 
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Attending1985

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Only have kids if you really want them not to fill a psychological void. I’ve always wanted kids and they are they are the joy of my life. They are also require and deserve tremdenous amounts of physical, emotional and financial resources.
 
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because biologically we aren't here to succeed in our job we’re here to propagate DNA so having kids is among the most fulfilling things you can do

While I myself do want children, I know several people who genuinely don't and are nonetheless happy and fulfilled. Having kids is certainly not for everyone, and society should not assume that anyone who does not have kids is somehow missing something.
 
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@sluox I hear you. I just feel like when it gets to these discussions of happiness and contentment, the same advice is repeated over and over again, as if there is some one size fits all answer to existence. I'm just not convinced anyone really has all the answers. Maybe there are no answers, just explanations that people come up with, answers that satisfy our individual reward centers moreso than others.

I will say, though, that I am a fan of the going-out-into-nature school of thought. Just had my first camping trip ever a few weeks ago. Very enjoyable, can't wait to do it again. Camping opportunities are even impacting where I'm thinking about applying for residency...
In the coming years, take your camping to the next level. Get a hiking pack, and hike into places / trails and all your gear is on your back.

Few years later take it to the next level and have an additional purpose to your back country hiking - Hunting.

Nothing quite like the adrenaline rush of the hunt, the fatigue of the processing, and the ensuing year round enjoyment of eating your harvest. Fresh deer backstraps, Elk Tenderloins, Elk burger, Deer Biriyani, spicy ground elk sausage. OMG.

Having a bow in hand, forested area, herd of elk moving all around you, any second you can be identified, the dank musty smell slapping your nasal cilia, your leg is now shaking from the ardrenaline, ears are declining in function due to the overwhelming sound of your carotids pounding, was that branch snap you or the elk?, trying to raise your bow and draw back with steadiness needed for the kill, all while attempting to quiet your physiologic response, arrow loose, 1/4 of a second, trying to memorize every detail, elk scatter.

Hunting, not a hobby, its a lifestyle. Careful, you'll get hooked.
 
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oldiebutgoodie1211

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While I myself do want children, I know several people who genuinely don't and are nonetheless happy and fulfilled. Having kids is certainly not for everyone, and society should not assume that anyone who does not have kids is somehow missing something.

We are not society here we are psychiatrists trying to help our patients so we should certainly be informed about the typical desires, motivations, culture of our patients and having kids is certainly the norm so when someone tells you they absolutely don’t want kids, as a thinking clinician you should probably dig further
 
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birchswing

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We are not society here we are psychiatrists trying to help our patients so we should certainly be informed about the typical desires, motivations, culture of our patients and having kids is certainly the norm so when someone tells you they absolutely don’t want kids, as a thinking clinician you should probably dig further
Have you seen the trend line for birth rates? Countries in Europe are paying people hand over fist to have kids. Why? Not because kids are wonderful (they may be). Because of retirement programs.

As soon as there were inventions widely available that allowed people to stop having kids, the rates plummeted.

Again, I think humans are superfluous to what is biologically necessary in so many spheres, not just reproduction. Otherwise we'd be having kids starting at menarche rather than not at all or even post menopause. What is common among cultures changes drastically and right now not having children is quite normal. It's been quite normal to have very few children for a long time.

I remember when I took developmental psychology, I realized how much of what we studied about children related to rather modern inventions (toilets and beds for example). There was little consideration for the fact that children have existed for hundreds of thousands of years, making the idea of how a child related to a toilet to me seem more one of modern history than psychological, though I suppose it's both.

I think the question of why someone isn't having children *could* be problematic in that there still remains pressure, especially on women, to have children when they might not want to. It's why I also think doctors opposing voluntary sterilization for women in their 20s is problematic. Doctors tell adult women that they can't possibly know their own minds and will regret the decision but don't seem to consider the life of the uncreated person—only that of the mother. It's not as if you have go digging for esoteric case reports to find a case of a bad parent. "Why a bad parent or bad childhood experience? I've never heard of one of those! I'll have to do some research." It's more of a given and accepted and understood, and I don't think it should be (although I still believe there is a case for antinatalism outside bad childhoods). As I said before I think there should be an exceptionally compelling reason, for the as of yet nonexistent person (not the parent), to bring non-existence into sentient existence.

Right now in Europe the exceptionally compelling reason to create new humans is for the ones that already exist to retire comfortably. Almost like farming humans. Ethically not a good reason.
 

shahseh22

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Congratulations you are getting older. The wonder of the endless future, like in high school, or college, or med school, and finally residency has now come to an end. The wonder and awe of the future is less because of your life stage. Be mindful, in the moment, and appreciate the little things.

Probably time to get married, have some kids (or adopt?) and watch how quickly your life changes.

I might be in the minority, but I have zero interest in getting married or having kids.

I've seen too many nasty divorces without prenuptial agreements. Make sure you are wise with who you marry and protect your future income.
 
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Ivos

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As soon as there were inventions widely available that allowed people to stop having kids, the rates plummeted.
I believe the rates plummet when the children start to survive, so that the end result is 2-3 living adults.

Going back a bit on topic, my life quality improved immensly when I got kids. Beyond the biological, I think it's a lot with having something to distract you from success. :)
 

birchswing

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I believe the rates plummet when the children start to survive, so that the end result is 2-3 living adults.

Going back a bit on topic, my life quality improved immensly when I got kids. Beyond the biological, I think it's a lot with having something to distract you from success. :)
Oh that's weird that you're in Sweden. I mean not weird, but a coincidence. I lived there. My mom is from Sweden. All of my cousins in Sweden have children. None of my US cousins do. I think it has something to do with the 16 month parental leave in Sweden, but that's just a guess. I don't think my US cousins could "afford" to have children right now.

I don't want to harp on it, but do you see how you're saying that your quality of life improved when you had children?

Your children will suffer at some point. They already have. Even if it's for one moment, can we say that it is permissible to bring them into this world for our satisfaction? To create something that is imbued with a survival instinct so strong it will continue for the sake of others and against suffering.

And do you not think that your government had at least some motivation in creating conditions that made you want to have children because they know the economy would collapse without it?
 
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eggeggeggegg

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The modern human can be defined as having an enormous number of features and qualities superfluous to survival. I don't think it's a fair comparison to say we have a biological imperative like other animals. We can reason in a way that does not compare to other species.

I have pointed out elsewhere that I believe having children is ethically impermissible, and at the time, it was considered off topic. But given that this thread is about cultivating happiness and people are suggesting happiness through conjuring sentient, existing beings out of the ether, thus forced to live lives they did not choose, I think it bears repeating that creating new humans, while extremely easy to do, has ethical ramifications that far dicier than controversial subjects like cloning sheep. I know that people will continue to have children. And I don't think I will change any minds. But this thread puts into stark focus the selfish reasons by which people choose to create new human life—to wake from nonexistence new existence so that the creators suffer less. There should be an extraordinarily compelling reason to continue the experiment of creating new human life. I have not seen it.

Has the suffering in your life been so bad that you would stop your parents from having you if you could change it? Do you think that is the experience of most people? Do you think the declining birth rate is because of the potential future suffering of their children? I'm not sure your experience is the experience of most people, especially on this board, and even most people.

Some of you are talking about pay cuts during COVID. That has not been my experience. Instead, I switched jobs during COVID and am making much much more -- surgical specialist money.

And over the past several days, I've been asking myself if I am happy. I can't say for certain I am.

The place I am at is high quality. I work with high-caliber partners. All of us are board-certified, hard workers. The decision makers have kept their end of the bargain and more. I am treated very well and I am helping the community immensely. I am well-fed and well-hydrated. And next year, there is a good chance I will make even more. If I stay for 10 years, I'll fatFIRE.

Prior to this, I lived what I envisioned was "the good life": traveling, nice clothes, fine dining, dating, living near the beach. And I can't say I was happy either.

The last time I was happy was a few years ago, as a third-year resident. It was an impromptu hangout with a girl one class above me. We were strolling along the beach until late in the night, talking about life after residency and what it would look like. It felt like I was back in high school or college -- staying up late, being carefree, and dreaming about how bright the future is going to be.

And here I am now. Accomplishing what I set out to accomplish. Experienced a good life. And yet happiness eludes me.

If you are living your dream, are you happy? What brings you happiness?

For OP, have you tried volunteering? foodbanks, shelters, abroad etc. I know most of us cut down for medschool/residency but it keeps you busier, is social and certainly helps keep you grateful for what you have
 
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shahseh22

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I believe the rates plummet when the children start to survive, so that the end result is 2-3 living adults.

Going back a bit on topic, my life quality improved immensly when I got kids. Beyond the biological, I think it's a lot with having something to distract you from success. :)

Child Care is astronomically expensive.
 

erg923

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The modern human can be defined as having an enormous number of features and qualities superfluous to survival. I don't think it's a fair comparison to say we have a biological imperative like other animals. We can reason in a way that does not compare to other species.

I have pointed out elsewhere that I believe having children is ethically impermissible, and at the time, it was considered off topic. But given that this thread is about cultivating happiness and people are suggesting happiness through conjuring sentient, existing beings out of the ether, thus forced to live lives they did not choose, I think it bears repeating that creating new humans, while extremely easy to do, has ethical ramifications that far dicier than controversial subjects like cloning sheep. I know that people will continue to have children. And I don't think I will change any minds. But this thread puts into stark focus the selfish reasons by which people choose to create new human life—to wake from nonexistence new existence so that the creators suffer less. There should be an extraordinarily compelling reason to continue the experiment of creating new human life. I have not seen it.

Settle down with this. Most people can raise children adaquatley. its alot of responsibility but its not intellectually that hard. Which is good because most people are of average intelligence, right? Most people can make just fine parents.

You can call it "selfish" if you want. Most of us probably view it as on of our primary purposes in life. If “wanting children” is not an acceptable motivation for reproducing, What would be an acceptable reason for reproducing...in you mind?
 
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Armadillos

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Skipped a chunk of the thread in the middle, but as an early career psychiatrist I would “say I’ve made it” and am happy. I’m sure at some point things will shift and I’ll want more of “something” from my work whether that’s money/prestige/variety/etc, but for now I feel like I’ve “made it”, so am in no hurry to change.

I work in community mental health and by SDN standards am grossly underpaid, but on the other side I’m never on call and generally only work 4 day weeks, so I get lots of time with my spouse and toddler. I also feel like I get to help a lot of patients who wouldn’t have a doctor otherwise, so there is some intrinsic satisfaction. I enjoy my colleagues and also live near my family (part of reason pay is low).

I have a reasonable house and never have to worry about day to day money spending, but unlike many MDs I’m not able to just go buy a new boat or car on a whim every year or two, but honestly that’s not a huge deal to me although it is definitely something you will occasiaknlly think about when seeing what old classmates are doing. But tonight I’ve got a beer in my hand watching my kid play in a $10 kiddie pool and I think I’ve made it.
 
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Central_SOULcus

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We are not society here we are psychiatrists trying to help our patients so we should certainly be informed about the typical desires, motivations, culture of our patients and having kids is certainly the norm so when someone tells you they absolutely don’t want kids, as a thinking clinician you should probably dig further

As I read your reply, I can't help but think it sounds like you're pathologizing something that goes against your idea of the current "cultural norm." While an individual may choose to not have kids due to past trauma or as some sort of maladaptive coping, I do believe there are plenty of mentally healthy people who simply don't want children for their own logical and legitimate reasons. It may be necessary to "dig further" in certain instances, but this hair-trigger judgment you seem to have for those who don't have or don't want children actually may need some digging into as well.
 
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brycew85

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The modern human can be defined as having an enormous number of features and qualities superfluous to survival. I don't think it's a fair comparison to say we have a biological imperative like other animals. We can reason in a way that does not compare to other species.

I have pointed out elsewhere that I believe having children is ethically impermissible, and at the time, it was considered off topic. But given that this thread is about cultivating happiness and people are suggesting happiness through conjuring sentient, existing beings out of the ether, thus forced to live lives they did not choose, I think it bears repeating that creating new humans, while extremely easy to do, has ethical ramifications that far dicier than controversial subjects like cloning sheep. I know that people will continue to have children. And I don't think I will change any minds. But this thread puts into stark focus the selfish reasons by which people choose to create new human life—to wake from nonexistence new existence so that the creators suffer less. There should be an extraordinarily compelling reason to continue the experiment of creating new human life. I have not seen it.

Agreed. It's surprising that a group of people who have seen so much human suffering and death choose to create new life to go through it. i agree with Rust:

 
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