FROM: THE BRAIN OF LEONARD SU
TO: Those who think they knew him
Hello friends. I am starting a blog. It’s a blog that anyone can read and one to which anyone can contribute, and it needs your help. What’s it about? Please read on:
Many of you know this; to others it will come as a complete surprise. I am no longer practicing clinical medicine. I am still technically a licensed, board-certified Vascular Surgeon, but I suppose you could call me “semi-retired.” This may have raised many a question for some of you. The “why” of my leaving is a discussion for another day (a very long discussion I will have with you later). But the other major question I get is “So what have you been doing since you quit?”
Well for some folks I gave explanations like “Oh, my wife and I are starting a business together,” or “You know? I’m going to write a book,” or even “I might look into a life in politics.” For some of you I actually let on that I really had no plans: “Right now? I’m going to give myself some time to just decompress.” All of these answers are true, but they don’t tell the whole truth. Not by a long shot.
So what have I been doing really? Well it’s mostly been a mix of some pretty kick-ass mental disease, relentless self-hatred and guilt, wallowing in mostly numb inactivity, and a whole TON of daytime television. Oh, and feeling like a complete and utter FAILURE. Oh yeah AND STARTING A WEBSITE, which is what I’m here to announce.
Hmm? What’s that you say? You want to hear more about the other stuff? Well, ok: I’m really disappointed in Wayne Brady’s career arc, Star Trek re-runs (any and all series) never get old, and I will always hate every couple on House Hunters (Tiny and normal sized versions). Sorry, but to learn about the real “other stuff,” you have stick with me, VISIT MY WEBSITE, and eventually read the book that I am in fact writing.
Okay. Let’s do this. The Website - www.midlife-oasis.com. I’m particularly fond of the title and the logo, but as a website, it will only function through participation by kind and interesting people like you! The premise is all about FAILURE. That’s pretty loaded, I know, and no it’s not just because I quit being a doctor that I started writing about failure. Well okay it’s a bit because of that, but it was inevitable that some feelings of failure would enter the discussion: failed career, failed expectations, failed life. So I started thinking in great detail about it. I talked with several people (including a couple of counselors and therapist types). The discussion was interesting. Heck even the fact that it was a discussion topic was interesting to me. So I think failure is a topic we ought to discuss.
Failure. We all talk about failure, sure, but it’s always with a hitch, right? “How can we learn from this failure?” “What is the Root Cause of this failure?” “Let’s QA this, folks, so we can prevent it from happening again”. We are all cause and effect animals, and sure we sometimes say we’re studying a failure for future benefit, but by God, as a species we obsess about assigning blame. We fixate on cause.
Or we might talk of failure like it’s THE key to any successful person. TED talks, motivational speakers, and self-help gurus all have their inspiring tales of failure. As I type this, I literally just watched a TV commercial for a sports drink saying that you can’t become great without tasting true defeat.
That’s just it though. As a society we have two states: rousing success or blame-worthy infamy. I would argue that failure actually is a separate state between these two. It is a state distinct from “the lack of success” and “worthy of blame”. My goal is to explore any and all of these grey areas and nuances. Failure is something that I could discuss at length, and hope you can too.
I wish for this site to be, as the name suggests, an oasis. A place where you can open up about failure and find not blame seekers, not root cause analyses, and not phoenix-from-the-ashes redemption. Rather you will find shelter filled with other failing people like you who just want to talk about their failures without baggage, finger pointing, or magnifying glass. Not a place to bitch about crap that went wrong today. This is not a blog about the epic “fail”. The internet is FILLED with tributes to “Fail”. A barista gets your name wrong? FAIL. No at this site your stories need failure plus a key ingredient: INSIGHT.
Click on the link. I would love to hear other people’s thoughts. Give me your words. I would love to read your words. I do not promise inspiration or redemption, only openness and honesty, brutal or otherwise. And besides, do you really want a blog about failure to fail? Join me at my Oasis. It’s a big tent, and we’ve many a refreshing treat just for you.