When Happiness Catches up with Us

December 02, 2018
by Mark David Siegel

“…doing good to others, a network of strong and supportive relationships, and a sense that one’s life is worthwhile, are the three greatest determinants of happiness.”

“Sometimes we don't need to pursue happiness. We just need to pause and let it catch up with us.”

                -Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Hello everyone,

I’m still basking in the afterglow of Wednesday evening’s fellowship celebration- from the rainbow hats, to the Tikkaway platters, to the cans of stout. Thanks for joining us, whether in spirit or in person, to toast our happiness. 

Sometimes happiness surprises us, like the Mets winning the World Series. More often we plan for happy occasions, like birthdays and holidays. But the least acknowledged form of happiness is always there for us, when we pause our crazy lives for a moment and let happiness catch up with us. 

Wednesday evening’s celebration was an amalgam of these. I always knew we’d do well in the match, even as swarms of butterflies fluttered about your collective stomachs. I knew we’d do well because you are gifted clinicians, brilliant scholars, and committed educators. Though modesty and superstition may have prevented you from seeing what great candidates you were, these traits weren’t lost on your interviewers. Maybe good fortune surprised you, but it didn’t surprise me. I knew a celebration was coming. 

What made me happiest on Wednesday, and what made the evening most meaningful to me, was the joy of being together. It was the sharing of hugs and laughter with those of you celebrating personal success, and the coming together of many more members of our residency to celebrate with you. What made the evening most meaningful was the celebration of our collective accomplishment. It was the recognition that happiness had caught up with us all. 

On this quiet Sunday morning, I can recognize what fills me with joy. The fellowship match is a reward for your hard work, but more importantly it is a milestone with far deeper significance, a signpost on the road pointing you towards meaningful careers. You will make scientific breakthroughs. You will teach the next generation. You will heal. 

The wonder of Wednesday evening was in the way so many forms of happiness merged at once. We toasted good fortune, we acknowledged the rewards of hard work, and we basked in the glow of a community that knows only one way to celebrate, together as a family. 

This is what happiness looks like, when we let happiness catch up with us.

Enjoy your Sunday everyone. 

Mark

Submitted by Mark David Siegel on December 02, 2018