There are things I have always wanted to do: skills I’ve wanted to learn and regretted never having done before, books I’ve wanted to read, ideas I’ve wanted to explore, interests I’ve wanted to pursuit. Despite these desires, thought, I’ve always found an excuse to not do them. The biggest thing I ever wanted to accomplish was becoming a doctor. It was a dream of mine since the 9th grade, when I started babysitting a young girl who had cancer. I was blown away by her passion for life, her optimism, and most amazingly, the fact that having cancer was nothing that worried her – it was just part of her life. From that moment I vowed to become a pediatric oncologist and I did everything I could to put myself in that position.
There were many roadblocks along the way, and despite my best efforts I was not getting were I needed to be. While the people around me were fielding multiple medical school acceptances, I was coming to terms with pursuing my plan B. But, life takes us down paths that we would never have imagined travelling and after a major life change, I refocused on my goal and took action. Finally, 13 years after making that change, I can say that I have accomplished that goal and become a fully fledged physician. I may not have become that pediatric oncologist that I wanted to become, but it’s in the twists and turns of action that we discover new paths and ideas.
Some might say that by pursuing this childhood dream, I’ve accomplished something remarkable… and maybe I have. However, in the process I have made many sacrifices and put many other goals and dreams on the sidelines. Along the way I have lost who I am and who I wanted to be, and I am barely recognizable as the person I was 13 or 15 years ago. Along the way of becoming that doctor I always wanted to be, I often succumbed to the age old excuse that “I just don’t have time” for anything else that I wanted to do. In some ways that was true: medical school and residency are emotionally, mentally, and physically taxing. Sometimes working the better side of 100 hours a week and then finding time to study in the little time remaining – this leaves little time for anything else. Add three pregnancies and those resulting children and their associated responsibilities to all that and there was, quite literally, nothing left for me.
Today, while I emerge from the shadows created by accomplishing my physician dreams, I have been given the opportunity to take Action, once again. It is surprisingly easy, and often the default answer, to say that there is not time or energy for these endeavors. But maybe it’s just habit.
I have begun re-reading some of the audiobooks I listened to when I didn’t have time to read. I am amazed at the beautiful written details I have missed by not being able to sit with the pages and let my eyes drink in the beautiful written word. I have been teaching myself to knit while also engaging in more crochet projects that I have always admired but never taken the time do make. And, I have committed to learning to play piano: something I have wanted to do since before I even wanted to be a doctor. Although I have just started this new journey, I hope it will be as fulfilling and rewarding as it would have been if I did it back when I insisted that I would never have time.