Fresh Start

{Napa, California}

I’m excited about the new year, but must admit that I’m in a strange transition phase where my professional identity and personal identity are at odds with one another.  Most of my life has been devoted to my education and in many ways I believe those years halted my personal development.  When most of my childhood friends were getting married and starting their own families, I spent most of my days studying, memorizing, listening to lectures, getting grilled by senior physicians, studying so that I don’t look like an idiot in front of senior physicians, eating, sleeping (then repeat).  My free time was spent either catching up on sleep or celebrating to make up for the fact that I spent several straight weeks studying (I think I’ve used the word “studying” way too many times in this post already).

“I wanted to become a doctor so I could serve others.  And because of that I’ve lost everything.  But I’ve also gained everything.”  ~ ‘Patch Adams’

Being in my mid-30’s, I certainly miss the vibrancy that came effortlessly as an energetic 20-something year old.  I recall working a 12 hour overnight shift in the Labor & Delivery unit, then heading straight to the airport (with only 1 hour of sleep) and boarding the plane in my scrubs in order to attend my sister’s graduation that day in San Francisco, then flying back the next morning (in my scrubs) to make it in time for another 12 hour shift.  Time flew by way too fast.  Before you know it, I’m at it again struggling to get a few days off in order to attend my sister’s wedding.  I barely had any time to think…and little time to fully enjoy life outside of school.  But that’s the path I chose and I am grateful with no regrets.   Now that I have a bit more free time, I am mindful that the more I allow myself to savor the present moments and especially invest in my own self-care, the better a person and physician I become.  After all, how can I care for others if I can’t take care of myself?  In the past, my new year’s resolutions consisted of external measures such as losing weight, getting high grades/scores on exams, etc.  But this year my goals are more internal and self-fulfilling…

My goals for 2015:

  • be present
  • be mindful
  • be open to self-discovery
  • be aware of my need for self-care.

Thought of the Day:  What personal goals would you like to achieve in 2015?

Photos by Marlon Santos

11 thoughts on “Fresh Start

  1. this post is so true for all of us that chose medicine as a career. after all these years I am now just starting to work on personal growth. I’ve noticed a striking difference between my maturity level in handling life/relationship challenges compared to my fiance. It saddens me that I’ve developed into such a great professional doctor in the workplace, yet can’t deal with life stressors adequately. I almost feel like I never caught up with all those grueling years! This year I’m going to focus on growing in my personal life! 🙂

    • yes, exactly…a feeling i share with you and i’m sure many of our colleagues too. i think med school needs to teach us about the importance of personal development, but then again, we’d probably be too busy to pay attention 😉 I’m glad you’re focusing on personal growth this year as well!

  2. Here’s another goal for you: take time for yourself.
    A walk on the beach is nice.
    (A couple of beers by a fire on the beach with is even nicer!)
    (Just do it!)

      • Thank Dr Freud and Ms Fashion!
        I’m not sure I have a style. 🙂 As an analyst, how would you define my “Style”?
        Have a great week (Month! In case we don’t “talk” before1)

        • haha, i’m hardly an analyst…just a doc who tends to formulate things analytically, though i wish time would turn back to the ages when EVERY psychiatrist was required to obtain psychoanalytic training. still too early for me to formulate your “style,” in due time 🙂

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