Sorry for the delay in the blogging cycle. Life happened and work happened.
Putting writing on hold for a month, while navigating the nuisances of life, was a great reminder of one of the greatest struggles of my own professional life and career. A struggle, I fear, overwhelms a lot of young professionals and contributes to a larger void of self-care and feeds vicious cycles of personal distress.
When I was a second-year medical student, I adopted the mindset of grinding through the rest of the academic year until I would be able to do clinical rotations in my third year of training. As an intern, I promised myself that upper level residency would be more fulfilling. As I transitioned into fellowship, I knew that I would finally be doing exactly what I loved to do. As a first-year fellow in oncology, I survived day to day with a personal peace that once I was an upper level fellow I would finally have a voice, an autonomy and a deeper meaning to the work I was doing.
Year after year I delayed the gratification with an earnest acceptance that the rainbow of personal satisfaction was just over the next hill. Finally, during fellowship the broken promises caught up to me. The relentless void of nothing changing broke me to my core. The grind became hopeless and the work leading to that point meaningless. I learned helplessness in a rat cage of cycles of consistency in the same repetitive grind. The lever and the delay.
For years, I put life, love, happiness, and self-discovery on the back burner until all of those pots were boiling over. I delayed any personal gratification in order to pursue professional achievements and success. I put out fires, I triaged and I survived (barely). Then, nothing changed and there was no greater reward.
This lesson reminds me to seek my own fulfillment first. To take care of myself and my needs first, in order to help other people. I learned that I can no longer grind, no longer delay any gratification in the hopes that everything else will change in the future and fit into place. I am the controller of my own destiny. Only I can control the environment in which I live and work by my own mindful interpretations of it. The rest is out of my control. The lever doesn’t matter, nor does the cage. How I choose to think, and how I choose to act are in my control. I write today because I no longer grind in the day to day seeking a broken promise. I live today on its own merits and with the gratitude that resides in it. Do not delay gratification. Seek it, find it, own it and live in it now to create your own promises for the future. Start now. Do not delay.