• Nathan Riley, MD

You Are Probably Making a Lot of Sub-Optimal Decisions in Life

There are 24 hours in my day. How I spend those hours matters. Social media does a delightful job of telling us where our priorities should lie. According to Instagram, you should be:



an adventurer

a mermaid (?)



0% body fat

“getting after it”



the perfect mom

the perfect husband

and possibly jobless

In reality, what you do in life depends on where you want to go and who you want to be. In conversations with patients at end of life, I often find myself thinking about the legacy that I hope to leave behind.

Sure, I want to be a supportive dad and a wonderful husband. I want to be financially independent. And I want to be seen as a great physician.

But more importantly, I want people to remember me as a man that they enjoy. A man who gives more than he receives. A man who doesn’t suck the life and patience out of the party. I want people to feel relief when I walk into a room rather than bemoan my presence.

If a particular task is not getting me where I want to be, then perhaps it is a sub-optimal use of my precious time.

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