I have three days off. This is a momentous occasion for me because I might have laughed at the prospect last year or instantly written an impossible List of Everything That Must Be Done, done none of it due to exhaustion, then felt WORSE at the end of those days.
Since it feels like such a long time since I had a break, I made only one rule, and that’s not to place any expectations on myself. Of course I made a list of everything I want to do, but only on the proviso that it was perfectly okay not to do any of it.
The sun is out, my house is a mess and instead of cleaning I’m clocking up serious couch time. I bought basil and hot cross buns, ate strawberries and walked in the sun earlier. Now I’m on my couch, my dear old Ikea couch that I’ve had for nearly ten years but can’t bear to get rid of it’s it’s so comfortable (I even had it recovered I love it so much), and I’m reading The Happiness Project.
So much of it is resonating, that moment where she realises she doesn’t read any law stuff outside of work, that what she does with her free time is pretty much what I do with my free time – it’s a sense of catharsis I’ve not felt from reading a book in a very long time.
Which naturally brings me back to, what the hell do I do with my life?
Do I become a GP and smell the roses, show up to work and enjoy my stacks of free time? Do I become a physician, do I dedicate my life to this job? And my free time? Do I escape to public health and work for the government? Or do I leave medicine all together? It’s not the washing machine it’s sold to be. I don’t want to be that person that gets their sense of self-worth from their specialty title. I also don’t want to be bored.
I did medicine because I cared about people and wanted to help. The ugly truth for me was that the system doesn’t give you the time to care, only treat, and most of the patients I see suffer from self-inflicted conditions that they have no real interest in rectifying, they just want a tablet. (There are also lovely lovely patients out there who didn’t ask to get sick who I would cure in a heartbeat if I could, but they seem to be increasingly few).
The Happiness Project has really got me thinking about who I am and what I want. Simple-sounding but doing this and filtering out all your external influences – friends, family, media, is hard. I’ll keep you posted.