Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pity party - you've been warned

It's been a really fun weekend. Yesterday we saw some old friends and had a really good time. It did get me thinking though. Sometimes I feel like I'm in a very strange place. My friends, and J's friends too, pretty much fall into 3 categories. The first are the ones who are married, both working, with no kids. These people are really living it up. They're traveling, getting themselves situated into wonderful homes where they are ready for a bigger family but aren't in any hurry to fill it up. They're becoming accomplished in their careers, so that, and having fun, is their focus right now. The next group has already moved past that and are focusing on their family. They have kids, or are having them, and are all great parents, or will be soon. Many of them have already been accomplished in their careers, some are continuing to work, some are not, but all of them seem to have a clear path ahead of them and a realization of their new responsibilities as a parent as well as a wife/husband/friend/sister/brother/daughter/son. Finally, we have our single friends who are truly still living it up, working in great careers and really focusing on figuring out who they are and what they want in life. They can go anywhere, and do anything they want (obviously within reason) because there is no one in the world to tie them down but themselves. And in watching all my friends (proudly I might add) maneuver through life so gracefully, it sometimes makes me wonder where that leaves me.

I'm married, and very happily so. But I don't exactly fall into any of these categories. We don't have kids yet, I don't have a career yet. All I have is potential for these things. I feel like for my whole life, all I've had is potential for great things. Potential is fantastic when you're 18 and the world is your oyster, but the older I get the more I wish the potential would be realized and I could move on. People always talk about how when you go into medicine you have to put your life on hold for about 10 years. Well, I'm not ready to make peace with that. That would make me 36 before life really begins. What the hell is that? I'm not even remotely interested in putting my life on hold for 10 years, but it's a very odd place that leaves me in. No kids, no job, just school.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not really unhappy. I like school. I want medicine to be my career. But I can't help but get a touch green when I see all the great things my lovely friends are doing. I can't help but feel a little lonely in my odd position. And I can't help but feel a bit bad for J, he would be one of those successful friends if he didn't have me to take care of. Although he never complains, and is much more farsighted than I am when it comes to all this. He realizes that in taking all this time to do this, we'll end up in a better place over all. I suppose I should take a page from his book and appreciate the potential for a little longer. I'm sure it will work out, but sometimes I can't help but hop into my own personal pity party. I suppose in a couple days I'll realize that summer is too fun to worry about this stuff, and the party will end but for now, a little venting was necessary. Thanks for hearing me out.


The Maiden Metallurgist said...

It's so funny, the grass is always greener... I woke up Saturday morning (if you can still call it morning) thought about throwing up, and realized the only thing I could do was curl up into a tight little ball, squeeze my eyes shut and try to will away a hangover that 5 years ago I wouldn't even have. I spent the next six or so hours kicking myself for ruining a perfectly good Saturday and wondering when the hell I'm going to grow up already.

Seriously though. When the hell am I going to grow up already?

medicine girl said...

One doc advised me that many people will be disappointed if they put everything on hold for years and then find they aren't happy with the outcome. He suggested finding ways to be satisfied with my life as it is now, whether I'm in school, residency, or beyond.

Okay, easier said than done when everyone around you seems more settled than you are and your soulmate is along for the ride. I think it might get easier once you finish the pre-clinical years. My 4th year classmates & *very* early clinical rotation experiences suggest that we can do a lot of good long before we become attending physicians. If you can attend to your non-career needs until you get there then it can make for a pretty good -- even enviable -- existence!

All that said, sometimes we're going to feel like you do right now. Hope you find your niche soon, even if it's a temporary one. I'm definitely pulling for you and have tremendous confidence in you despite having never met. :-)

rachsu said...

i'm starting law school next month - and, though it's only a 3 year hold on life, i ALWAYS feel like i might be missing out. i oscillate between wanting to be the best litigator in history and wanting to say eff it all and just be a stay at home mom. ha. needless to say, i'll be doing option 1 - but i think it's TOTALLY normal to envy those that already have it "figured out." at least, that's what i tell myself. :)