Gail Sheehy, author of the groundbreaking book “Passages,” (and 15 subsequent spin-off books) is still using that way of looking at life to make a living. I certainly give her points for having figured out how to do that.
The reason is because one of the immutable laws they give you in marketing class is that it is essentially impossible to sell “prevention.” If you do not do “fill in the blank” something horrible will happen.
Something like illness.
When I thought I had diabetes (I don’t) and followed the directions I was given, I told my beloved husband — as well as my parents of blessed memory, who thought that since I was always thought of as a healthy and reliable one and couldn’t possibly be REALLY sick — that I would take good care of myself so that my old age would see me being strong. And comfortable. And of course, reliable to others.
That was when I really believed things that doctors told me., Especially the things that academic doctors told me. They were the people who had taught me, after all, be that in one country or another.
It turns out, their diagnosis was wrong. And that launched me on my current path to upset the establishment apple cart.
Sheehy’s USA Today article started falling through for me when I realized how much the reality had changed, and the directions had changed, and pretty much everything had changed, while I was living and studying it.
Yes we have Passages in our lives. I doubt anything will convince the tweens or twenties to make life choices on the basis of what they have in mind for the future.
I have a friend who took a lot of drugs while working her way through college. I think she was kick-ass competent in her chosen profession — for a while. I do not know how she does it now as she seems more than a little weak on the old recent memory.
True, she’s a few years older than me, but age doesn’t account for cognitive decline as much as we are led to believe.
Not only do I not know how she remembers various particulars in dealing with her clients — she has admitted taking plenty of notes — but I am guessing from her conversations that remembering things within a specific conversation is a challenge, too.
It’s unfortunate that I believe that this has led me to limit my interactions with her. When dealing with demented people, I find myself narrowing of the channel of my conversation and it is unnatural and difficult.
Of course, I do this with patients when treating them, but it’s a whole different dynamic. Not all my friends are geniuses, but when I can’t relax and be myself with them, it is real tough.
So there you are. Aside from “playing” with substances of abuse — an activity I hate to call “experimentation” because nobody actually lets another person stand around in a white coat collecting data — your best defense is simply to follow medical lore about whatever you think you have got.
Remember, a doctor has to know about five hundred diseases to make a living.
As for you, try to know what you have got.