Friday, August 26, 2016


"When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations...when power narrows the areas of man's concerns, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence." - JFK, 1963

Dear Reader,

One of the challenges I struggle with daily is the limited time and energy I have. So much of myself is devoted to the people I love, the projects I'm trying to cultivate, and my personal well-being. My work and personal life have been really stressful as of late, and trying to eke out more creativity, energy, and productivity has been really hard. I feel spent. As I ponder my priorities and restructure my life, I've become more and more certain that creative writing should and will take up more of my time. As JFK pointed out, I have certainly become more arrogant and more narrow; it is time to allow poetry to expand my perspectives. With writing, I hope to salvage balance in my life. 

This blog, of course, has been a project and adventure that has taken me far beyond where I imagined I'd go. It's been a wonderful exercise in creative writing, commitment, responsibility, and exploration. I've really appreciated everyone who has come across this, commented to me about it (in person or online), and spent a little time on this website. As I think about my life and its transition points, though, I am becoming more certain that this blog will finally come to an end. I'm planning on winding this down over the next few weeks. 

Commitment is such an important thing. It's a strange idea for me that I will part ways with this quasi-daily activity. I spend a lot of my time finding things to write about, refining ideas, and planning my entries. I've learned a lot of what works and what doesn't, and indeed, I have much more to learn. But I started this journey ten years ago, in September of 2006. It seems only fitting that I will say goodbye a decade later.

Commitment wears thin. In an era where young people change jobs every few years, where marriages are perhaps closer to "serial monogamy," where we move and travel and change our identities, I've learned the hard way that the values underlying commitment are mutable. I love this blog so much, and the opportunities it has given me have been tremendous. Through it, I helped a young man change careers, pursue medical school, and choose anesthesiology. Through it, I became involved in The American Resident Project, reaching far bigger audiences. Through it, I have talked to physicians in Canada and India and South America. I've met nurses who've read this blog, medical students who recognize my name through it, and real web presences that have interviewed me about it. It's a commitment that's really paid off. Despite all that, it's time for me to move on. I will miss it and want to linger, but I know new adventures await and new projects are beginning to bloom.

With great affection,


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Dr, Chen for your excellent posts, I'll be sad to see you go, and hope you are able to pick this up again someday! Or at least if you have a Twitter account or other social media as I love reading your thoughts and hearing your insights. You've inspired me as a med student to seriously consider anesthesiology and critical care.

Craig Chen said...

Thank you for the lovely comment, it's really wonderful to hear. I never made it onto Twitter, but if I do find another soapbox, I'll make sure I mention it here.

Anonymous said...

This blog has been a pleasure to read. Thank you Dr. Chen for sharing sharing your thoughts, knowledge and inspiration, but even beyond that, displaying the desire and commitment to push yourself for the benefit of others. Seems like the great physicians lead hopelessly lopsided lives. Wishing you find a good balance, and nothing but the best (essential adversity) to push you in your career and journey through this life.

Craig Chen said...

Thank you so much. It has been a little bit lopsided :) but I love the idea of essential adversity. I really appreciate your kind words