Sunday, May 30, 2010

I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused

"My life is very monotonous," he said. "I hunt chickens; men hunt me. All the chickens are just alike, and all the men are just alike. And, in consequence, I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat..."

This little passage from The Little Prince has always meant a lot to me. The problem, of course, is that I have always fought off the idea of being tamed. For, as wonderful as it may be, it's also quite uncomfortable.

So here I find myself dancing with the whole idea, a tentative step towards, a nervous step back. I'm pulled to the idea of being tamed. I fight it because there is an expiration date on things these days. I am happy and I do not entirely see the point of disturbing that equilibrium.

And yet, I am perhaps not as cynical as I sound. Even in the back and forth, the conflict that leads to paralysis, the doubts and fears, in all of that there has to be some element of hope, or the scales would have been tipped towards my usual content state of status quo. I suppose what is left is figuring out what it is I'm hoping for.

In other news, it is finally starting to get warm here these days. Which means soon it will be time to embark on ice cream making. In preparation, I spent all of yesterday scrubbing my kitchen down (there is something silly about the idea of cleaning something up just so you can make it dirty again- I'm sure there is some meaning to this habit of mine, but I don't have the wherewithal to figure it out just now). This is much aided by an iPod tucked in your pocket. Preferably with cheeseball Bollywood songs, a healthy helping of 80s silliness like XTC and Duran Duran, and then closing it out with some Jay-Z. It sounds odd, but it is surprisingly effective.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

if we part, I'm sure we'll meet again

Strange days indeed.

Third year of medical school is supposed to be the most difficult one. Even though it is the opportunity to get into the clinics, see patients, figure out what you really want, it is also grueling, exhausting and makes you question yourself and your abilities. Fourth year of medical school, in contrast, is supposed to be the big exhale, the big period of calm and relaxation before the rigors of residency.

I am three weeks into my fourth year, and I haven’t been relaxed. Still, it’s by far the best three weeks of medical school thus far, and it will continue to be a good year, I suspect. Everything starts to fall into place; all the learning starts to come in handy. And most of all, you are more involved in taking care of your patients and talking to families and being an integral part of the team.

So all of that is good, and I should just be content and calm. And a part of me is. But the other part of me is developing a big, horrible ulcer. It is okay though. I have this little trick, and it really comes in handy. I remind myself that, in general, I am happy with the life I lead. When someone comes along and pushes me out of my equilibrium, the set point shifts. But I know, and nowadays it’s not a delusion but the truth, I know that I can go back.

It’s a more powerful thing than I imagined, really being aware that you’ll be okay on your own. I mean, I have known this for a long time. But I haven’t really taken it out for a test drive in a while. Until now.

Relationships (and even typing that word sparked a cringe cringe cringe response down to my bones) are a complicated business. Now I’m not saying I’m in one (because that would cause me to run to the closest bar and drown myself in Grey Goose until my liver was shot), but even entertaining the idea of one is tricky. In some ways, it’s made all the more difficult when the possibilities seem good, seem promising.

And for a tiny bit of time, I thought that I was getting ready for some troubled times. I could feel things crumbling. But then I remembered that I have been standing on my own two feet for some time now. And that no one can pull the rug out from underneath me except for me.

I like earthquakes. I like the ground beneath me crumbling a bit. But I am not going to collapse, not going to dive into an abyss. It’s still a weird feeling, because this is not my usual stable state, not a comfortable feeling. However, I have the oddest sense that everything will be fine- not because I know what is going to happen, but because I know nothing’s going to change my world, if you will.

After next week, my schedule gets pretty sweet, so I’ll be posting more regularly (inspiration willing).