What Makes Life Worth Living

As the new year rolls in, I ask: what kind of world do you want to live in? At MedShadow, we envision a world where pharmacies encourage people to exercise, not just take pills, and where doctors feel responsibility to restore joy in their patients’ lives, not just remove sickness. 

It’s not just us who believe this. Yesterday, I came across an article from three doctors who claim that medicine’s job is not just to remove pain or illness, but to heal their patients, so that they can feel joy again. In their JAMA article, Joy, Suffering and the Goals of Medicine, they write, when joy is lost, patients give up on life. 

Joy, according to these doctors, can be experienced even while suffering chronic pain, even when in hospice and, perhaps more easily, when healthy. Joy should be the “explicit goal” of healthcare. Rah! 

Then a video I watched yesterday, Take Care of Yourself, produced by Doc Morris, a German online pharmacy and retail company, gave the perfect example. It starts with an elderly man waking up and sadly recognizing how far away his youth is. I’ll keep it vague so you can experience it your way. I promise, it will make you feel good. 

I don’t know what Doc Morris was trying to sell, but here’s what I was buying: it’s not too late; you can do it; it may be hard, but it’s worth it. In this case, “it” was exercise, which led the man to fulfill a vision that would bring him joy. He knew what he wanted and he was willing to work every day, making small, incremental gains to achieve it. 

The story is about more than exercise. The determination applies to dreams of all sorts: your past New Year’s resolutions, that novel you want to write, putting together that photo album, the garden you want to build. For anything to happen in life, you must love the dream so much, you won’t let anything — neither age, ability nor other’s skepticism — stop you. 

That’s what I wish for you this holiday season, MedShadow reader. I wish you goals that are a vision you can’t let go of; connections to family and generations, so you can see your past and your future. I wish you challenges that thrill you. I wish you not just peace, but joy, whatever that means to you. Because all any of us needs is a reason to get up in the morning and the ability to find joy.

Suzanne B. Robotti

Suzanne Robotti founded MedShadow Foundation in 2012. Learn more about Su and her mission.

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