Feb 16, 2012

Driving without a map

I’ve always considered myself a planning person, I’ve always known what I wanted to study and what I wanted to work as, even as a kid. So imagine my surprise when I was described as a person who takes things as they come a couple of years ago. I thought, wow, that sounds great, I wish it was true.

Recently though I’ve been thinking that maybe I was wrong and he was right (and trust me, I don’t like how that rings…). Plans usually include some sort of, well plan, you know? An assessment of how you are getting “there” – a map if you will. I’ve never had a map, or been able to read a map properly in my entire life. I’ve always just had a goal, a direction that was somehow very clearly defined and also very far away. If I’d been asked how I was going to become a doctor the year before I started med.school I wouldn’t have been able to answer the question.

My grades were high, but not high enough and my “SAT”-scores (aka Högskoleprovet) were good but not nearly as good as they needed to be to get in to med.school. I had at that point never even considered to study abroad. Then suddenly a classmate decides she’s going to do it and she tells me how I can apply. I don’t even remember thinking it through beforehand, I just sent the application in. The goal was to become a doctor and now, with very little own doing, I was on my way.

The point of this is, that this last decade (well almost anyway!) was planned out for me as soon as I applied. There was very little independent thought mixed in with it all, I just followed the plan laid out by the university and fooled myself into thinking I had actually planned something myself. Now comes the difficult step – thinking for myself. Now I realize that I have nothing but dreams, goals and wishes and there is no university in the world that can make most of them come true. Now the description of me, “taking things as they come” is very much true, but I don’t know how great I think it is. Mostly it’s just frightening, paralyzing fear in the pit of my stomach, but sometimes a little hint of excitement blends in and I guess that’s the part I’m trying to hold on to.


This picture is from this morning, the view from my sleeping quarters at the hospital – me, a doctor having a nightshift, sleeping in the hospital, giving medicine to people and sticking tubes in their chests – the most normal thing in the world. I’m still dumfounded at how that is even possible sometimes, how did I get here without a map? On the other hand, I guess that should give me some comfort that the rest of it will probably work it self out somehow too, who knows, maybe I’ll be saying the same thing in a year about a completely different unimaginable situation?

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