Living with Uncertainty is Okay

Somewhere along the road to becoming adults we decided that we needed to have control of our lives and have everything planned out before us all neatly in a row.  We decided this is what keeps us calm and makes us happy.

I know, I think the exact same way.  I am a planner.  I get giddy walking down the calendar aisle at Target.  I love to have things organized so I feel like I'm in control of my life.

It's why I'm mildly obsessed with Microsoft Excel.  I make spreadsheets for everything, anything.  Our finances, my cleaning schedule, my weekly To Do schedule, my son's daily routine.....if a spreadsheet can be made for it, I make it with a satisfied smile on my face.  Oh how lovely that everything fits so nice and tidy in each little box!

Unfortunately for me, life is not like this--for anyone--no matter what the career path.  But especially not with medical school.  Why can't I use a calendar to plan out or lives for rotations, after medschool, for residency, after residency?  There are so many unknowns, uncertainties, and whatifs....why doesn't everything just fit neatly into a box?

After completing year one of medschool, I've finally made my peace with not having our lives perfectly planned out even a little bit.  Sure, it still stresses me out sometimes, but I use to wage an internal battle against the medschool process without its knowledge.  It didn't do anything but give me anxiety and make me a bit bitter.  I've made my peace.  No spreadsheet for medschool. :)

I'm currently reading a thick book on creative writing, just for fun.  In it I found a quote that novelist Robert Stone said about the process of creative writing....and when I read it I immediately thought, "That's exactly like medical school!"  And life in general, really:

"It's like driving a car at night.  You can only see as far ahead as your headlights, but you can make the entire journey that way."

You can make the entire journey that way.  Now that was reassuring.  I guess it's kind of like my son's Easter egg hunt this year.  He didn't know where all the eggs were hidden, but he was happy as a clam to find one egg at a time, and eventually his basket was full.  One egg at a time.

(How's that for an analogy so I can include a cute picture of my son? :)


Mandy, The Mother of All Chaos said...

Great post and great quote. This too has been my struggle lately with the time being upon us for applying for residencies. The anxiety of where to apply, who to get letters of recommendation from, where will he get accepted, WILL he get accepted?.... it can be so overwhelming. But knowing every student and spouse goes through this process and it always works out is so reassuring, and that we all have the same feelings =)

Anonymous said...

Oooh! I really love that quote and how it applies to life with a doctor. Very apt!

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