Do you ever pause to think about where you are at in life right now? It's crazy when you do - well at least when I do. It's actually quite frightening.
The deal with being a doctor is that your life is always on hold. Most people finish up with college, get some kind of entry job, and have fun. You know - live a little (or a lot). Then maybe someone gets married, and has so more fun years before having a kid. Or there are those that get pregnant right away. But in any case, most people I know have figured out how to live a little before settling down too much.
Well in medicine, that just seems to not be the norm. You go to college, work to get decent grades, study for months to take the darn MCAT. Then start applying for med school. I took a year off after college. I knew I wasn't mentally ready to go straight through. My world was rocked pretty hard my senior year of college when my dad unexpectedly died - right as I was applying for med school. So I scrapped that plan. Moved to Washington DC to work at National Institutes of Health (well there may have been a different reason -but I won't talk about that:)
And once I got into med school that winter, I finally started to learn how to live a little. Relax. Have fun. Not worry so much. And that lasted for about 4 months. And then I returned to school. And I still had fun. But it was so hard to relax and just enjoy life.
And then I got married. Then we moved a thousand miles away and bought an old house. Then I started residency and worked 80 hours a week for the most of 3 years. And then I had a baby. And then I graduated from residency and we bought a nicer house. And then I took a bit of a lull by being chief resident for a year. Which allowed me to relax a bit. Well at least have the weekends off again.
And then I started fellowship. And worked nights and weekends again. Not nearly as many 80 hour weeks, but with only 15 vacation days/year when your spouse has 20 plus lots of trip time - you don't really get to relax enough.
And then I had another baby.
And now some how it has been 15 years since high school, and I am not sure how much I have really lived. And I still haven't started my career. I'm getting close. Just over a year to go and then I am finally free. My life won't just be on hold while I get through whatever period of training I am in. But it kind of makes me gasp when I realized how much time has gone by without ever really living life.
So now I need to learn to just LIVE.