fields of wildflowers
I was forced to reassess my dream of becoming a doctor after I got a B- in Bio 110 (which was plant biology by the way). Meaning, my dad told me - "no medical school would accept you with a grade like that on your record", and that I should strongly consider choosing a different career path. The start of Sophomore year was the end of my dream of becoming a doctor and the beginning of a new journey.
My older sister is a doctor and is in the middle of her emergency medicine residency. One of the hardest working individuals I know, her journey to and through medical school was not your typical one and encountered many challenges along the way. Her being four years older, my entire life I've always looked to her for her opinion about things from fashion, to life, to guys. The whole gamut.
We were texting the other week, and she was sharing how difficult it was getting yelled at on a daily basis by patients. The demanding long residency hours and how exhausting the work was. While I was reading this stream of white blob messages come in, I was mentally calculating what the right play was.
Do I empathize with how much her situation sucks? (Bring the energy down with her) Do I disagree with her? (Cause tension and friction) Do I try to motivate her and remind her why she's working so hard? (Try to bring the energy up) Or do I not respond. (Stay neutral, but energy still going down)
I decided to try the motivation option, and it completely backfired. Instead of it being a pep talk and a reminder of why she was working so hard and the great impact she'll have, she interpreted it as me patronizing her as I was making assumptions about her life.
As you can imagine the text thread quickly spun out of control, and I started furiously typing and threw the "ball" right back at her.
"Yeah being a doctor is really easy and fun. And you never cry or get yelled at." (she was being sarcastic)
Coincidentally a few weeks prior I had cried at work, and for sure I let her know. Working in escalation management where you handle the worst client issues has its challenges as well. Suddenly the conversation took a weird turn when she said she wanted what I had, and yet I had created this pity party with my parents about how I (me) didn't get a chance to go to medical school.
No longer playing the who had it worse game, I had mentally switched to another topic completely. Sometimes the only way to stop the madness is by not playing.
Yes, during that moment she may have said she wanted what I had - "a job at Google, and a Google paycheck", but I was thinking that I didn't know if I wanted what she had. Yes, part of me does still want to become a doctor, but I recognize that I made all of the choices that got me "here" - which is me not being a doctor.
I was reminded of a Seth Godin interview, where he talks about the larger danger of always wanting something that you don't have. "The grass is always greener" syndrome. As a result the person usually misses out on really connecting with people, and misses great opportunities right under their noses because they are constantly looking elsewhere.
I find what I do quite emotionally challenging and exhausting, but I don't do it because it's easy. The frequent challenges make me grow professionally and personally, and require me to be creative when solving problems I haven't handled before. Not saying that I never get frustrated (because I do, often), but I always find that the more I put in, the more I get out of it. The more connections I am able to make, the more the magic spreads - like sending currents of teamwork through the organization.
The opportunity of telling someone that the person they managed or mentored before is now a rockstar. The feeling of being able to say - thank you for helping us fix this issue because tons of people were being impacted by an issue. Reminding people the WHY of what we are doing.
I'm at this place where I'm trying to take full ownership of my choices. I'm here because I want to be here, and while I'm here I might as well have fun with it. And if there is something that I'm unhappy with, well then I better be doing something to change it.