{Bubblegum Alley, San Luis Obispo, California}

I know that the end of year 2015 is fast approaching, but I’m declaring a resolution for the remaining months: to be spontaneous and feel free to explore.  The restrictive years of medical education, training, and work, can be so draining.  Some of you may know that I work in clinic part-time (a career decision that I will explain in a future post), however, the majority of the time, I utilize my days off to recover from work.  Though I take absolute pride in my work as a psychiatrist, my profession is only a part of my identity and I refuse to let it dominate my life.   I’d much rather spend my time exploring new places, trying new activities, and doing whatever I can to make up for lost time spent with my head buried in books and research articles.  So, if you ever see me outside of clinic, please don’t call me “Doctor” (unless you don’t know what else to call me, or by chance are a patient of mine).  My name is Vania, and I enjoy spending time outdoors, trying a variety of sports activities, poking fun at myself while educating followers on Snapchat, getting carded at any alcohol-serving establishment, and I find beauty in even the ickiest of things (like a gum wall…how cool is that?!).

Have an exploratory weekend!

21 thoughts on “Explore

  1. Vania, It has been good to meet you via the blog-o-sphere! I share an interest in the whole mental health arena. We have several family members who have been diagnosed with various issues, not to mention my own 🙂 When I was in my late 20’s I decided to go back to school to possibly be a marriage and family counselor. (Nothing compared to the years and years of effort you invested to become a psychiatrist, but I think the core desire to help others who are struggling comes from the same impulse). Anyway, I believe you are spot on, when you say you don’t want your identity to be totally wrapped up in your work. (just like while I love carpentry/ construction, that is not who I am.

    • Hi DM! Love that you can always relate to my posts in some way and validate exactly how I’m feeling…different field of work, but same mentality nonetheless about not wanting to let work interfere with some of the equal or more important things in life (though you’ve definitely mastered it far more than i have!). I’m sure you’d make an excellent marriage/family counselor if u were ever to consider a 2nd career! 😉

  2. I’ve been to Seattle’s gum wall. Gross and intriguing at the same time!

    Sometimes it can be tricky to find a life outside of medicine when it’s everything we lived and breathed for so long. But it’s nice to explore the other facets of our life too. Keeps us from being one-dimensional.

    • Hi doc! yes, as intriguing as i found the gum wall, a bit of my OCD traits came out, but i tried not to stare too intently at each wad of gum otherwise i’d get so grossed out that i wouldn’t be able to capture a pic! a career in medicine can make it hard to explore outside of our field…it’s practically a process of “un-learning” in order to focus on things other than work 🙂

  3. Hi Vania,

    I loved your post and your message. You are already on the right path where your profession is only part of your identity. I finished residency in 2000 and have always prioritized maintaining balance in my life which has included minimal on call duties, working part-time and resisting comparing myself to other physician’s work choices.

    Enjoy exploring!

    • Hi Sara, you’re an example of what i hope to achieve! you’ll have to go give me tips along the way on how to achieve balance! i used to feel that i HAD to do research, HAD to do lecture presentation, HAD to, HAD to, etc. I figure there’s plenty of time left to do more with my career as i know of several psychiatrists who practice until they’re 80 (yikes!).

  4. Nobody can ever take your education away from you. You had your schooling and you have had your residency, now you are beginning to start the next phase of your education, called life experiences, this is where you really change the world and make a difference. I’m looking to reading about your new and exciting times ahead. BTW I’m glad that gum is on the wall and not on my shoe.

      • Hi Vania,
        I’ve been busy enjoying my wife and two youngest children this summer (loads of concerts, last weekend Alice Cooper and Motley Crue). I was re-organized, re-structured, and semi retired after 29+ years with the same company (something I found about bereaved parents is most lose their job within 2 years, I was lucky it was 3.5 years). So I’ve been learning what it takes to hire a new employer (its pretty intense) . As of yesterday I hired one that has met all of my requirements, and they will start working for me on the 31st of this month (installing and starting up equipment that removes mercury and other cats and dogs from coal fired power plant emissions).
        I love this post, it brought up some good memories of Ben. Ben was known for helping everyone do their home work at school and never turned his own in. Well at the calling hours we had set up a memory box in the lobby of the funeral home, with blank note cards, so his friends could write a memory and drop it in the box. We had over 400 cards in the box. All of my kids are on the target rifle team, and so two cards stuck out in my memory from your post, the first said “had a great time shooting up your homework at practice”, and the second (written in beautiful script, had to be a teacher) “I’m glad you never wasted a minute of your life doing homework”
        Its good to explore life, find beauty in every thing we encounter and develop relationships with everyone we encounter. Its all we have to take with us when we leave this life.

        Bob 🙂

        • Hi Bob,
          I find it interesting how you say “hire a new employer” — i’m not too familiar w/ the culture of your line of work, but this statement definitely puts you in a position of more power/control (a mentality that i wish more physicians would adopt in order to take more control in this unfortunate culture of assembly-line medicine), but anyway, glad u found one that meets all of your requirements! i actually shared some of the knowledge i learned from u (regarding bereaved parents losing their jobs) at one of my clinic meetings — it’s actually quite sad that many mental health clinicians don’t recognize how profound an impact of losing a child can have on a parent. it felt good to advocate and stand up for the patient (a bereaved parent) during that mtg.
          Reading the comment about your son Ben warmed my heart. I could definitely learn from him and i’m in awe that he knew such valuable, important lessons about exploring the beauty in life at such a young age, esp when it takes most of us decades of stress and burnout to realize. i’m definitely enjoying life much more these days by focusing more on my overall identity as a human being rather than a work horse, and fostering relationships that matter most.

  5. Pingback: Living Free and Spontaneous | Freud & Fashion

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