I hope the first week of summer has been all you hoped. While we still have 5 weeks left I wanted to extol the importance of making yourself a priority. Our lives will be devoted to the needs of other people; patients, family, friends. Where do we fit into that? Are we destined to be at the bottom of our to do list? Make these weeks about you. Do the things you want. Your agenda matters just as much as anyone else's.
"The days are long but the years are short." I was recently reminded of this saying by Dr. Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon who passed away from cancer at the age of 37. In his original article, which can be read here he echoes my worries. He writes about filling your life with the important things and about time. Precious time.
The thing is, is that we don't know if we're going live long enough to slow down, relax, enjoy our successes if we keep putting it off. Not everyone is destined to live a long life. We may not have 60 more years on this earth. I don't want to live my life when I'm old. I want it now, and I want all of it. Joy, sadness, fear, hope, faith, doubt, love, struggle, failure, success-- lay it on me. These five weeks of "summer" represent more than time to add to your resume, or cross shit off your to do list. This time represents renewing a commitment to loving yourself and filling your life with the important stuff, (what constitutes important stuff is for you to figure out).
Don't get me wrong-- med school is important. But you are not your grades, you are not your resume. And as hard for me as this is to admit-- your self worth is not reflected in a diploma-- no matter how many of them you may happen to have.
I know we feel the pressure to be doing "stuff." Research, clinic, trips abroad. Its good to have things to do, and by all means if you feel like you want to bust your ass over this break then do it. But make sure you are using this time the way you want to, the way you would if you were running out of time. Personally, I have a pile of trashy chick lit books on my nightstand collecting dust-- I would like to read them before I die (or before they all get made into movies).
We are pushed a great deal of the time. Pushed to study more, pushed to work at clinic more, pushed to sign up for just one more thing. We just finished the first year of medical school. Refuse to be shamed by anyone (including yourself) telling you what to do with your break. Take some time. Slow down if you can...better yet lie down.
And while life is certainly uncertain, if you want to stack the deck in your favor we could all try to do just a little better about sleeping, cooking/ eating healthy things and getting to the gym more often. Just saying.
I wish you the best 5 weeks ever. Make sure that there is life in your life. And sunscreen. Lots of sunscreen.