Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting two facebook dental friends in person: Dr. Frank Clayton and Dr. Michael Halasz. For years, I’ve seen their posts in dental groups. We’ve chatted, we’ve joked, and we’ve supported each other in personal and professional times. I really like them.
Coincidentally, they were both going to be in/near Cleveland on the same weekend (and that’s where I live), so I jumped at the chance to make plans with them.
I found myself counting down the days until their arrival. Having plans with them gave me something to look forward to. It made getting through a crazy dental week just a bit easier.
Both encounters were for fun things, too. My husband and I were meeting other friends, Mary Beth and Joe Bajornas, with Dr. Clayton for lunch on Friday. Although the visit was short, we had time to share stories and laughter.
My visit with Dr. Halasz was at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday. The Rock Hall was a flurry of activity that day because KISS front man, Gene Simmons, was apparently there. We explored the exhibits and talked music all afternoon. Dr. Halasz even wore a shirt that said, “I’m Still Pissed at Yoko” and it was a hit at the museum. People were commenting on it all day. We were having such a fun time that we ALMOST missed it when Gene Simmons walked by us, pointed to Dr. Halasz and said, “I’m still pissed at her, too!” We finished off the day with a fantastic dinner and I hated to see it end.
As we drove home, I realized how much I needed that weekend. Yes, it’s nice to chat online with dental friends, but it’s something else to be able to meet and connect with them in person, too. Sometimes I get so stuck in the daily grind of dentistry, that I start to lose myself a little bit. I have friends outside of dentistry, but my connection with my dental friends is different and maybe better in some cases. At the Rock Hall, we watched a video about various musicians and when James Hetfield’s (of Metallica) face filled the screen, I couldn’t take my eyes off of his gold crown on #3. I was totally distracted by it. After a few moments, Dr. Halasz leaned over to us and said, “I know you guys are looking at his #3.” We all laughed. That would never happen with my non-dental friends. I can’t talk to them about things like that.
Earlier this year, my husband went to Voices of Dentistry, a podcast summit in Scottsdale. He absolutely loved it. Although he earned some continuing education while he was there, he used the trip as an opportunity to meet some of his online dental friends. He had a blast sharing meals, stories, and laughs with them. I noticed a change in my husband when he came home. He seemed so relaxed and happy. That’s when I realized how important these trips and meet ups can be.
I used to cringe at the cost of continuing education. I hated to spend the money on travel and hotel-and not to mention the cost of shutting down our office. I used to encourage him to take whatever was cheapest and closest.
But, I was wrong. (Look at me admitting I was wrong!)
I don’t see it that way anymore. I think we should go to MORE of these events. Kevin is already looking forward to Voices of Dentistry next year (and if he can get me on a plane, I’ll go, too!). Being able to think about that trip will help him get through some crazy dental days, I’m sure. Now, we look at continuing education as an opportunity to fuel our minds AND our souls. We look at more than the number of credits earned and the cost of the course. They are a chance to spend time with people who go through the same things we do everyday-people who “get” it….people who would also be distracted by Hetfield’s #3.