Nikhil Joshi, M.D.
Doctor, Author, Leader
Nikhil Joshi is a young physician, writer, and speaker. He is passionate about furthering his ability to touch the lives of people positively.

Ozymandias

Ozymandias

Hey you!

How the hell are you? What’s going on today? I’m just hanging out here waiting for another round of chemo, feeling very philosophical about this whole thing so I thought I’d share some of my musings. Thanks for humouring me- you’re a champ.

My rant begins with the statement- no one is watching. So we all want to do some crazy life changing thing like end world hunger or be a billionaire- none of that shit matters. You’re gonna die and be forgotten like everyone else. “What about those people that aren’t forgotten?” someone will argue. Everyone and everything will eventually be swallowed by time. The earth is a couple billion years old. In another billion years humanity itself won’t even be remembered. There is no permanency to the things we change in this life- because life is inherently changing. Therefore if you try to live in order to do this one thing that’s gonna be around forever you are totally wasting your fucking time. Try reading Ozymandias by Shelley if you don’t believe me.

The second thing I’ve learnt from all this craziness is that it does no good to perform comparisons- which is what we are all doing all the time. We compare ourselves to our friends, famous people, people on the street- because we want to gain some sense of who we are and what we’re worth. Unfortunately who you are and what you’re worth can only be determined by you. I know that shit sounds corny but it’s entirely true, what you have gone through, what you are worth, the impact you have on this world- no one can quantify, no one can possibly know in the least. I just got a little note from a stranger saying best of luck with my treatment and he wishes me all the best- do you know how incredibly meaningful that gesture is? What has Bill Gates or Mark Cuban done for me? Fucking nothing. But this guy takes the time to say “Hey Nick, sorry you have cancer, I’m thinking about you man and I wish you the best”. To me that dude is the fucking bomb. He’s better than Kanye. That’s right I said it. Now just because some jerk offs in popular television think otherwise but that means nothing. Their opinions are irrelevant. You want to worship a celebrity or billionaire? Go ahead. But just keep in mind that 20 years after they die no one is going to give a shit about them either. The world keeps on turning. So maybe opening your mind to not comparing yourself is a good idea. Maybe you just say “hey I’m me, and I’m doing the best I can so let’s have a great fucking day”. Maybe that makes you one of the greatest human beings that ever lived. Maybe that attitude to really love yourself and your own existence is the actual key to greatness. Maybe when you die God’s first question is did you love yourself? And maybe there is no God- maybe you just ask yourself that question.

The third thing is a throwback to the first thing: no one is watching, and if someone is then they must care about you. When I started this blog lots of people who loved me were afraid. Why live cancer openly? By exposing myself didn’t I leave myself vulnerable to people gossiping about me? First off, I don’t give a fuck what people think or say if they aren’t my supporters. Doesn’t phase me. Don’t give a shit. The second thing is that people aren’t bad. People by and large are kind and loving and tremendously beautiful. I’m glad I’d chosen to live this whole thing openly because I’ve been touched by how unbelievably supportive the entire world is. So yes, the bully who stole your lunch money is an asshole, but the world is full of people who will support you through that even if they don’t know you. Overall humanity is great, there is just a sprinkling of assholes that make life difficult at times. Luckily people can change.

The last thing I’ve thought of today and will leave you with is that everyone catches shit in their life. It is inevitable that we will be shit on. But what is truly important, inspirational, beautiful, is to suffer gracefully. What does it mean to suffer gracefully? It doesn’t mean pretending to not suffer- that is denial. To suffer gracefully is to see your suffering as meaningful. Let me be clear- pain and suffering is not meaningful unless you design to make it so. This blog, this cancer, this life is my daily job and I’m attempting to live it well. I’m acting as if this pain and suffering spares the world or my family one cancer. Maybe in this world one person will not go through what I have, maybe one stranger won’t get cancer now, maybe this is the one cancer that someone in my family was going to get and maybe I get it now. And I’m so amazingly thankful if that’s really true- and it may not be but acting as if is what makes this thing meaningful. To me, this cancer is a piece of suffering in the world that I’ve taken into myself. There is that much less unhappiness out there for others. I learnt that from my colleague and friend Dr. Richard Fagan, whose private suffering was tremendous, dignified, and inspiring. I learnt that it is not what happens to us but how we choose to react that makes human beings wonderful creatures.

So now I choose to live this day to my best ability as an act of worship to a collection of ideals. Seems to me to be a reasonable way to live a life.

Peace and Love
-N.

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