I have been asked several times to recount my motivation to continue with my fitness and personal development routines every day. I always hesitate to answer this as its much more complicated than saying, “to get fit.”
I’m a general surgeon. Although the TV and media may present this in a certain manner, it consists of long hours and a lot of stress. I see people in a physically and emotional vulnerable state. They come to me acutely ill with infections or, often in my world, with newly diagnosed cancer. Despite the pervasive image of a surgeon, I feel emotionally vested in the care of my patients, especially the young ones. In them, I see myself. So, when I have to tell a young women in her 40s that she has breast cancer or I see a husband bringing in his kids to see their mother in the ICU, I am continually reminded of my own mortality. Its draining but keeps me grounded and certainly humble.
Why do I get up at 5 am everyday? Why do I surround myself with positive and uplifting people? Why would I rather watch comedies instead of depressing dramas? Why do I always see the best in people? I see life as a simple choice. You can either embrace every day with the full appreciation of the miraculous nature of our existence or you merely exist. Life is finite. As Henry David Thoreau stated, “I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life …” Therefore, I wake up at 5 each morning, to exercise, watch the sun rise and see my girls as they wake up. It keeps me grounded, awake and alive.
Each person will find there own motivation and the most profound is uniquely individual. At some point, each of us gets to some point where we tell ourselves that we cannot continue on our current path. And, so, we don’t.
– Shawn Tweedt, DO
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”
– Henry David Thoreau