Millennials’ Changing Gender Identity and Sexuality: Why Now?

When I was growing up, a person’s gender and sexuality were so much simpler. A persona was either male or female, gay or straight. Today, people’s gender and sexuality can be almost anything – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, pansexual, asexual, genderqueer, aromantic, two-spirit, etc.


Recent research shows that nearly a third of young people view their sexuality as somewhere between 100% heterosexual and 100% homosexual. Facebook, with its one billion users, now offers 60 options for users’ gender. In California, there is a bill that would add a third gender option on all identification documents – like birth certificates and driver’s licenses – listing male, female, and nonbinary.


Celebrities, like Miley Cyrus and Kristen Stewart, have been tabloid examples. Each of them have dated men and women; and each of them have described their sexual preferences as “fluid.” Some surveys have claimed that there are 100-200 shades of sexuality. What a contrast from 25-50 years ago when a male actor would hide his homosexuality, even getting married to a woman, just to save his career.


Today, fortunately, we have become more and more tolerant, especially the younger generations. Young people […]

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Unlock that cage!

ObstacleI was talking to a friend of mine recently about work. He and I both changed jobs during the past year, and we were comparing notes about that experience. One of the things that struck me was the feeling that the challenges we faced at our old jobs followed us to our current jobs. Both of us continue to struggle with time constraints, personnel management issues, and the rigidity of a corporate setting. Despite our change in scenery, we faced the same barriers to our personal growth and satisfaction.

dog penAs we spoke a recent image of Geordy came to mind. (I know, I know, everything seems to come back to our dogs! I’m really not that preoccupied with them but their antics capture my imagination.) As you may recall from an earlier blog, Geordy just underwent surgery. After the surgery, he was required to wear a cone collar to prevent him from chewing at his surgical site. We also were told to try and restrict his usual boisterous behavior. So, for the past week, Geordy has been kept […]

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How Can I Help?

Clock watchingAm I the only one who felt like I was just marking time today? Maybe it was triggered by a couple of patients. It could just be my general contemplation about where my life is headed. Seems like a lot of the people I’m working with these days are questioning whether they spent their lives well. I find myself thinking about Erickson’s notion that “generativity versus despair” is one of the stages of development that everyone must face at some point in their life.

I mentioned before how my wife and I were considering how we could change things in our lives. One possibility stood out as we read more about the lives of people who have moved overseas. It seems like everybody participates in some sort of volunteer activity. I’m sure they feel like they are making a difference or contributing. Supposedly they made the move to retire, but instead they usually find themselves busier than ever.

Hamster wheelSo I find myself wondering. Grinding away every day, keeping my pace in the rat race leaves me bored and fatigued. It […]

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A New Approach and A New Life Direction


In my friend and partner’s last blog, he highlighted the lost American dream of a carefree retirement and the difficulty of “letting go” of the security that comes from a career and years of work. He shared his concerns about being that rhesus monkey (with the fist caught in the coconut), unable to let go of the “goodies” from work, unable to find a new direction. He also shared how he and his wife Cyndy have discussed the risks of moving away, but worried that if they abandon security, “what are they abandoning it for?”

new guideNow, do those concerns and worries sound familiar? With 74-77 million baby boomers, and with a huge percentage of them dissatisfied with their jobs, I think my friend’s concerns likely reflects your own concerns. So, what is my recommendation for all of you? I think you have to approach this challenge from a different angle. The focus should not be on what you are giving up. Rather, the focus should be on what do you really want from the rest of your life. That seems like […]

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What’s next?

The past year my wife and I have been exploring various aspects of redesigning our lives. Cyndy is miles ahead of me on healthy diet and exercise, so I have been doing my best to be more disciplined. (Just can’t seem to give up the occasional bone-in ribeye though, sigh.)  Another option we have been discussing has been early retirement. For us, that would mean giving up my salaried job and it’s health benefits. Our goal would be to achieve more independence in our daily lives, a slower pace, and the opportunity to pursue other interests. The cost, clearly, is security and predictability.

lying couple on grass and dream three cloud houses collageDavid Kekich observed “Security is the lowest form of happiness.” Tennessee Williams went further, “Security is a kind of death.”  The American Dream was modeled on security, though. Most of us learned at home or in school that we should get a job with a good company, work there for 30+ years, collect a paycheck, and earn a pension.


dear boss, I quitI’m not sure that plan is still […]

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Letting Go …

health-insurance-clai-6642790On July 31 I recounted my personal heath care nightmare story. The details do not need to be repeated here. But even as a physician (who knows the health care system), I still got screwed by my own insurance. They shifted me to a new insurance plan; they billed me monthly for the insurance; and they (nicely) failed to disclose which doctors were part of the plan. Therefore, my family members ended up being seen by doctors who could not bill our insurance. Which was probably just what the insurance company wanted. Consequently, although I paid $1,000 a month for health insurance, there is no possibility of being reimbursed for the doctor visits we needed. The insurance company’s profit went up; my family’s health went down. Sound familiar?

Old, white haired female rhesus monkeySo, what’s my point? Well, do you know how they capture rhesus monkeys in Indonesia? They find a coconut, cut off the top,  clean out the coconut, and create a hollow that can be filled with rice or peanuts. The coconut is staked to the ground. The monkey finds the […]

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Sometimes it helps to look back to move forward…

My wife (Cyndy) and I just celebrated our anniversary this past weekend. We took a couple days off to sit in the sun and relax. While there Cyndy was going thru Bill’s book. She commented that in many ways she feels that she has realized the goals of the book – to live, to love, to make a difference. For her, some of those goals were rooted in our past: the travelling we have done, and the years she worked as a first grade teacher. However, she continues to appreciate what we have and strives to find new ways to make a difference. She reminded me about the importance of perspective. Of the risks of getting locked in to your own world view. Too often I focus on the challenges I face now and forget about past joys and successes. greener_grassI let the negative parts of my life today overshadow the good stuff. Then I fall too deeply into “the grass is always greener” thinking. As a result, when I consider redesigning my life, I feel overwhelmed – as if I have to recreate everything! But that’s not true. […]

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Finding your own path

I know I already wrote a bit about my recent trip to Mammoth, but I’m kind of wishing I was still there so you’re gonna get a little more from that trip today. On one of our hikes there’s a section where you have to cross a stretch of rocks and boulders. From our experience last year, I knew Ryker hated to be left behind. He had demonstrated impressive skill at clambering from rock to rock. But I was curious to see how Geordy would manage.

Ryker – doing it his way

As we started across the boulders Geordy tended to follow right behind Cyndy and me. It was fascinating, however, to watch Ryker pick his own path. He had very specific ideas about which rocks looked safe and which gaps he could jump. I’m not sure I understood his logic, but I couldn’t argue with his success! Geordy had to be carried a few times but exhibited his characteristic gusto the whole way.

Geordy boulder Geordy – where next?

Ultimately we all ended up on […]

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Ice cream, fireworks, and neighbors

I don’t know about you, but I remember the Fourth of July was a lot more fun when I was growing up. I grew up in a typical tract home in Southern California. On the 4th of July it seemed everybody ended up sitting on their driveways, eating hot dogs and hamburgers, visiting with neighbors and family.

Hand-cranked ice cream! Hand-cranked ice cream!

I remember spending hours cranking the ice cream maker while waiting for my father to set up the fireworks on the street. Of course being purists we had to make vanilla, but I remember sneaking over to the Maring’s two doors down to try their latest experiment in fruit-flavored ice cream. happy family looking fireworks in the evening skyThen the fireworks would begin. Ground bloom flowers, piccolo petes, Roman candles, pinwheels. We would work our way through all the lesser items to the grand finale cone. Each family would jockey for the timing of their grand finale – you didn’t want to have your audience distracted by the goings on down the street. And then it was over. […]

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Man’s Best Friend – The Lost Dog

border_collie Border Collie

When I was in the fourth grade my father’s job was transferred from Los Angeles to Pittsburgh. With the move my father decided to give away our border collie, Laddie. From his perspective, he wanted our dog to have a better life. Urban clutter? Or rural freedom? So, he deposited our dog at a ranch 40 miles east of Los Angeles. Horses. Cattle. Chickens. Kids. Open fields framed by fences. What could be better, right?

Within 24 hours, our dog escaped. Jumped the fence? Squeezed beneath some gate? Who knows? But he was suddenly lost with 40 miles between the ranch and home. For the first 15 miles it was open countryside with windy, dusty roads. For the last 25 miles there were freeways, congested traffic, a few hundred thousand people, and no safe haven. Worse, there were plenty of police, ready to scoop up a mutt and cart the beast to the local animal shelter.

We had little hope. Our dog did not have a collar tag. He had only ridden in the back seat for the single drive, head down and apprehensive. But guess what happened? On day 15, […]

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