Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews From the Frontline

Middle aged medicine

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 24 January 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g395
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow

The greatest joy of youth is the lack of insight. We think we know everything because we have so little life experience we don’t know any better. But life experience isn’t optional. We age, uncertainty replaces certainty, confidence is replaced by insecurity, invincibility is replaced by vulnerability, and what was once important is now unimportant. We realise that intellectual vanity is the worst vanity of all, with people intent on a kind of social plastic surgery to pretend they are something they are not. The only things we really want are the very things we can’t possess. …

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