My dad is retiring today – the last day of work as an orthopedic surgeon. He built a thriving practice with a great and fun team, has hundreds (probably thousands) of happy clients and patients.
Here’s to him, who taught me how to live my life without telling me.
As long as I can remember, the practice has been the focal point of our family life. The timing of breakfast, lunch, and dinner (all of which we ate together, every single day growing up), vacations, or other appointments. The supply of an endless amount of amazing DIY and crafting materials. Countless hours of attention for all medical woes of my own, my siblings, and all of my friends who still come over to the practice today.
My dad’s life has taught me to care for people. Not because you could gain from it, but because it is the right thing to do. Because you can make people’s life better, make things easier for them, and give them back their smile.
My dad has taught me to look at the big picture. To see what is behind an illness, ache, or injury and clean that up after the bleeding stops. To see what makes you happy forever, not just now. And certainly not what satisfies other people’s expectations, but what fulfills your own wishes and desires in life.
He also taught me to make my own decisions, grow by my own failures, and not expect someone else to do things for me. To work during my studies so I could travel and live in other countries. To own up to the subjects I hated and didn’t want to study for. To take care of my family and friends, and not to take them or anyone else for granted.
When I told him I didn’t want to be a doctor myself (like him, and my grandpa, and lots of others in our family), he just shrugged and told me that’s ok. And that was it. And from that day on he did everything and more to support me in my career, understand what I was doing, and always made me take my own decisions, whatever he thought.
He taught me to love my family. To love my sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles. He showed me how to be a loving husband. I am still learning, but it’s easy when you can look at someone else do it right.
I hope I can one day be a father like him.
I’ll leave you with the most important piece of wisdom he imparted every now and then:
"Dad, it hurts when I do this"
"Don't do it."
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