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Cocktails With... Dr Meshel McIntosh

You studied dentistry in Trinidad. How was that experience?

My experience in Trinidad was phenomenal! I went there expecting it to be almost the same as Jamaica but being there showed me its unique culture. It certainly has a special place in my heart and I consider it a second home. I met a lot of lifelong friends that I now consider to be my family. Equally dear to my heart is the soca music and food.

What were five lessons learnt along the way?

Five lessons I learnt along the way would have to be :

1. God's timing is perfect — everything has worked according to his plan for me and it's always better than I can hope for.

2. People and opportunities come into our lives for a reason and oftentimes a season. Being present in each stage is what propels us to the next chapter and cultivates growth.

3. Being humble. Celebrate your victories and learn from your losses along the way, but never become so caught up in where you're going that you lose appreciation for where you started.

4. Love yourself first.

5. Be kind and generous to those who seem to be doing better or worse than yourself. People need our kindness; after all, we can switch positions at any given time.

What words of advice would you give today to your younger self?

I would tell myself not to worry. All things are working for my good. I am doing my best and that is more than enough. Don't compare the current situation to that of others. Relax, don't be so hard on yourself. I am capable of every thought that my mind can conceive.

You were at Sunday brunch, a part of the Jamaica Food & Drink Festival. What was the experience like for you?

The experience was extremely pleasurable. I met a lot of people who were very warm and encouraged friendly conversation. The venue was well laid out and decorated. The view was beautiful; it made the long drive there worth it. The offerings of the chefs were extremely tasty. Two in particular stood out to me — Stush in the Bush and Oji Jaja's station which I'm a little embarrassed to say I went back to three times! Let's just say his rock crab claws are the key to my heart.

What has been your most humbling experience careerwise?

My most humbling experience has been and continues to be realising how much faith my patients are putting in me when they visit my office. Dental phobia is such a common experience amongst patients and is perhaps one of the most vulnerable situations they encounter. Being able to coach people through their anxiety and improve their health is a blessing.

Where's your happy place?

My happy place is usually anywhere that I can have some alone time to recharge. Most frequently these places include my home, the beach or anywhere in nature. Though this time is extremely valuable to me, my friends and family also offer a safe space for me and nothing compares to that comfort.

Nature or Nurture?

I'm definitely a nurturer by nature. See what I did there? Haha. But seriously, I feel most purposeful when I'm able to care for my loved ones, patients and even strangers.

In your industry is it more important to be liked or respected?

For me, it's more important to be respected. Certainly, being liked gets you along your path quicker in our society, but being respected means doing what is ethical and best for the overall health of a patient. This is not always the most liked approach but it usually works in both our best interests.

What is your greatest fear?

At this point I've accepted my middle name should be Anxiety. I have more fears than I'm comfortable sharing. If I'm honest, I'm living one of my greatest fears by doing this interview. I'm usually mildly to extremely terrified of being put in the spotlight. Greater than that, however, is my fear of not being able to connect with loved ones or being removed from them whether it is situationally, physically or emotionally.

What book do you recommend most to others?

It's hard to choose one but my favourite so far is between The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho or A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.

What lesson has been the hardest to learn?

The lesson that has been hardest for me to learn is that I'm too hard on myself. Being a typical Virgo, I'm always worrying and sometimes overthinking the situation. My mind is constantly leaping 10 miles ahead. It is my hardest struggle to stay present and accept the gift that is today.

What food sums you up?

Spicy seafood pasta (without cheese).

It's comfort food, easy to prepare, spicy and usually quite filling.

What have you never understood?

I've never understood people's love for cheese. No, I'm not lactose-intolerant nor do I have any dietary restrictions, but the smell and taste of cheese is borderline intolerable.

What's the one thing that might surprise people about you?

Nothing that would not be totally awkward to share here comes to mind!

Heels or flats?

Given my towering stature at 5' 2” I perhaps should be inclined to wear heels, but I'm most comfortable in flats.

Jeans or an LBD?

LBD. I love dresses.

Romantic movie or a comedy?

Can I be corny and say a rom-com? I think that would be my absolute favourite.

Ballet recital or opera?

Ballet recital.

Finally, what's your personal credo?

Being someone of integrity who is a good steward of this Earth. Putting respect and honour for others at the centre of how you move through the world. Essentially, living with a great sense of purpose.

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