35. On quitting

I circle back around to residency and flirt with being a doctor the same way you do an ex-boyfriend. When things are good you could care less. But the moment you hit a rough patch of bad blind dates and lonely nights in with Netflix, you wonder what could have been if you had stayed. One day you’ll see him having brunch with someone new, laughing and enjoying each other’s company; a glimpse of what once was. What could have been.

It’s easy to forget the downsides when you want to overlook them. When there are dollar signs and prestige at the end of the rainbow.

Many of my friends will be entering their last year of residency soon, well on their way to being full-fledged doctors. I cannot imagine the things they have learned or the pains it took to learn them, but I am jealous of them just the same. It’s the sister life I could have had, staring me in the face.

Around this time two years ago (two!)  I remember googling the words, “quitting residency.” I wanted someone to tell me that it would be ok. I wanted a role model with a success story that I could hold up to my family, friends, and myself.

I never found one.

Not one I identified with, anyway. I was no Michael Crichton or William Carlos Williams. I didn’t have any interest in business school or equity research.  I had done that thing so many poets and motivational speakers urge people to do – I had forged my own path. And it was/is terrifying.

So…I’m doing the work. To become my own success story.

It’s still a work in progress. It’s not at all glamorous. And I have a new definition of success. I don’t know where I’ll end up or how many times I’ll get it wrong before I get it right. But I will own every decision I make.

Because we should all be writing our own stories.

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35. On quitting

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