“Oh, my friend, it’s not what they take away from you that counts, it’s what you do with what you have left.”
~Hubert H. Humphrey
Lately I’ve really been struggling. I haven’t been focusing at all on the “good” things that I have left. I’ve only been thinking about everything that’s been taken away, and the negative effects that it has had on my life.
Moving for residency took away my sense of community, my closeness with friends, and stability for my family. On a more psychological level, the match process took away my sense of capability, my confidence, my support network, and the vision I had for my life in the long term. I am now left with a deflated sense of self, uncertainty about where my life will go, and the constant worry that I’m never going to be good enough. What do I have left? I still have my husband and my children, and I do still have some of my friends, even if they are 500Km away.
What do I do with that? Do I have to search for something else? I was obviously in a more optimistic state of mind when I wrote today’s card for K:
“… I still have everything I learned and I still have memories and motivations… that is what I have left. I plan to use it wisely. I want to be the best at what I do…”
Maybe that is all I have left – but it doesn’t seem like much. I have the medical knowledge I gained, and I have the memories of the experiences I had in “that life.” I’d like to think I have the same motivations, but sometimes I’m just not so sure. All of this seems so small and insignificant in comparison to what was taken away, and it is likely the case that I lose optimism when I let the memories of what’s missing overshadow the little bits that remain.
The question really becomes, then, how do I transition from focussing on what was taken away to focussing on what I have left? I know I have days, or even a stretch of days, where I feel like I am taking what’s left and using it to be the best version of myself that I can be. I know that it makes a difference: I can feel it in myself and I can sense it in the people I work with. Every once in a while, however, the losses come back to haunt me. I am dragged down into those feelings of incompetence, I doubt myself, and I tell myself that I am where I am now because of how “wrong” I was. I’m not sure if that makes sense.
I really do want to be the best at what I do. I am just not certain if I can do that with what I have left. Maybe there’s something I’m missing. Or, maybe I just need to take what I have left and make more with it.