Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Solitude.


Today was one of my most anticipated days off in a long while. Nothing special is happening: Husband is (still) out of town, Kiddo is at school, the house is (mostly) clean, and I've no plans until Kiddo's 3 o'clock orthodontist appointment.

So far I've watched the first hour of the Today Show; started and half completed a simple but pretty embroidery project for my sister-in-law (homemade gifts are always appreciated, even if constructed with an inexperienced hand...or so I tell myself); brewed and leisurely consumed a pot of French press coffee (I'm steeping my second pot as I write this); and scooping up packages off the front stoop as they are delivered.

As I recount the minutia of my day off, one might think, Is this blog-worthy?. I, myself, have wondered the same thing. Then I am reminded that these moments of solitude are rare and lovely and should be recognized. I love my boys, but hours spent in peace and quiet is what fills my bucket. Not shopping or crafting or listening to music, even. Times when the house is silent, my clothes are soft and warm, and there is a hot drink in my hand are the best times, the most rejuvenating times.

Lately I've been wondering what my goals are. Not the ones I set for myself so many years ago; the ones that occasionally have me feeling trapped in some sort of educational pigeonhole (of my own making, I admit). No, I'm talking about the goals that reside deep in my soul. The ones that seem crazy and impossible but just may be my destiny. You see, now that I'm knee-deep in the medical field, do I really want to make it my life's work? If it were just the practice of medicine, yes. Of course, yes. But hospitals are businesses. Clinics are businesses. And with businesses come budgets and bottom lines and bureaucracy. Many years ago, in the early stages of my return to academia, Mario admitted he questioned my ability to do what I set out to do. Not to excel in my studies, of that I know he has not had a moment's doubt, but rather the wherewithal to treat a patient, a human being, according to policy as opposed to innate instinct. Because the two are not always mutually inclusive. At the time we had one hell of a row—I was pissed. But mostly hurt. So hurt. We were driving home to New Hampshire from a road trip to St. Louis, and hours of tense silence ensued before we had it out in a random Starbucks parking lot. How could he not believe in me? Had he always felt this way?

Fast forward all these years and I find myself asking the same question: Can I stomach practicing medicine as part the machine healthcare has become? There are different fields of medicine, of course, but there will always be the numbers game no matter where I go. Will I spend my career feeling held back by my chosen profession? Was I meant to go through this so I may find my true calling? Was this my true calling all along and regular emotional hurdles are just another means of proving it? Is this yet another phase I must go through in order to discover my deepest potential? My one hundredth call to self discovery? I don't know. So while Husband's comments may have been poorly timed way back when, they weren't necessarily wrong. (For the love of god, don't tell him that.) Still, these are questions one must answer in those quiet moments alone, as opposed to defending their life's calling to their significant other. On an 18-hour drive.


And so on this rainy day, I am thankful I have nothing to do. Last night, after a 10-hour shift at the hospital, I made a grocery store run to stock up on ingredients to get us through the week's meals. Because I didn't want to start today with a to-do list. The gray skies and rainy weather, which have left the area with localized flooding and snarled traffic, kept me at home. If I had any inclination to run into the city to cross gifts off my shopping list, the dreary day squelched them. It gave me permission to perch at my kitchen counter with fingers to keyboard and that one last cup of coffee. I don't expect the answers to come to me today. But it's days like today, the silent and still ones, that will boost morale and usher in a fresh perspective.


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