Thursday, May 08, 2008

it's just a bunch of feelings that we've had

So here we are again.

As soon as I said I was in want of a break from writing, I wanted to write again. Funny how that happens.

Another thing that is funny in much the same way occurred to me last night, as I was drifting off to sleep reasoning out the difference between sensitivity, specificity, and positive predictive value. When I find myself really fond of a friend, when I really feel comfortable with them, I will babble on and on. It's all very self-absorbed, and worse yet, circular and undoubtedly excessively annoying. I turn a problem over in my head, but I do it verbally, examining it from a million angles, thinking I have figured it out, only to come back to it 15 minutes later in a conversation with a "but you know what it really is?" followed by another round of picking myself apart.

Sometimes I think this blog serves the same purpose. And I think sometimes, over the past year, I got this sense that I had already put a The End on my story. Often, I felt that there was no point. For so long, I had pursued one thing, and then I got it, so what was there left to say really? Sequels never really do much for anyone, especially when there was already a happy ending. Do you want to see what happens after Empire Strikes Back? Sure thing. Do you want to see what happens after When Harry Met Sally? Not so much.

But here's the thing. There wasn't a The End. I thought there was, but I was mistaken. There's this zen-master instructor who I laugh at a lot at school, as he's the complete antithesis of everything else that is drilled into your head in medical school. On his door, he has a quote that says live until you die. The mischief in me cannot help but mock that sign, because it is certainly a statement of the obvious, and kind of doesn't mean a lot if you take it at face value. Live until you die? I didn't know there were any other options on the table.

Except that, actually, I did. A happy ending doesn't exist outside of a narrative. Because there is no end, until the very end of it. I have felt a bit conflicted about complaining about anything to do with medical school for the past year because:
  • it was, after all, The Goal
  • no one forced me into it
  • it often invites the range of "yeah, medical school is stupid and I hate doctors" to "don't worry, you'll be different!" variety of remarks that, while helpful in some ways, tend to oversimplify the facts in my particular case.

And yet, the story continues on, as life tends to do. The only way to find out if you want something is to go after it, get it, and determine if you want to hold onto it. And even then, what you hold in your hand today slowly takes shape into something else entirely over time. So, strangely enough, I got what I wanted, still want it, but I remain uncertain as to where it will lead. Yet, for now, that is okay.

There's a huge party tonight, celebrating the imminent completion of a year in medical school. But I'm unapologetically sitting in my living room, mixing myself a vodka tonic, getting ready to watch an episode of 30Rock, and pondering baking a batch of cookies and packing a bag. Tomorrow I'm making a brief pilgrimage to San Francisco, followed by visiting one of my oldest friends. We will undoubtedly spend the wee hours of the night coming up with answers to my chorus of "but you know what it really is?" But when there is enough alcohol involved, it's not quite as annoying.

No comments: