I get on a plane to go back home tonight. This is a good thing.
I miss, in no particular order, my kids, my pets, my husband, my bed, and my Keurig. I realized that I am not at all prepared for my role as Art Docent in my daughter’s kindergarten class this Friday, so when I get home late tonight I have to immediately launch into tracing 30 yellow construction paper corncobs. There are many things I would rather do after staggering in the front door after a long week of learning, but construction paper corncobs it is. No rest for the weary.
It was a good session, though. That is one of the cool things about this profession- we don’t function in a tiny isolated corner of medicine where there is maybe one amazing discovery a year. TONS of things change every year. My entire professional education has been nearly invalidated this last decade, which is both exhilarating, depressing, and intimidating all at once.
I am armed with new tips for suturing angry intestines. I am up to date on the current Major Controversy in ophthalmology regarding third eyelid flaps. I had a board certified dentist come over to me during a techniques lab and, with one firm correction to my wrist angle, make me about 50% more efficient in my tooth extraction technique. These are all good things.
I also saw a few of my classmates, who, while I was busy fooling around at home with my kids on extended maternity leave, making cake sculpture, and learning faux marble painting techniques, have become much more accomplished career-wise than I. I’m torn about my feelings on that. On the one hand, I’m where I am by choice and working part time as I do is pretty much the best thing I could ever have done for myself. On the other hand, my competitive side insists on kicking into gear in these situations and telling me I am way behind the game. I should be owning a practice or board certified in something, or maybe heading up an entire department in a teaching hospital like my friend Rob.
But honestly, I know in my heart of hearts that should I have wanted to do that, I would have. I could do it right now if I wanted to. If I really, really wanted to I would figure out a way. People do it all the time. Of course that would mean instead of making construction paper corncobs with my daughter I’d be at work, and instead of drawing space aliens with my son I’d be at work, and instead of making cakes for myself for the kids I’d be at work. And this is the kicker- instead of writing a blog, I’d be at work.
That just wouldn’t do. I think I am happy right where I am.
Romeo the Cat says
Dr. V, I bet your “more accomplished” colleagues envy YOU. I for one am glad you’re blogging instead of being at work all the time. I’m certain I’m not the only one. 🙂
Lisa W says
Great post Dr. V. I’m currently
struggling with this sort of thing myself. Trouble is that what I really want to do (work with animals) would cut my salary by about two-thirds. Someday I’ll get it figured out, I guess.
I’m in the same spot, Lisa. A banking salary is much different than a vet salary, let alone the costs to go back to vet school, and end up being a 35 year old my first year of practice. It’s just not feasible for me, so I do the best I can to make up for it. I read books about vet medicine, read this fantabulous blog, ask a bajillion questions whenever I’m at the vet, basically whatever I can to learn some more. One day when I either win the lottery or retire, I’d like to go back to working as a tech like I did for awhile in college.
Being board certified, owning your own practice is probably great, but it seems very work-centric. However, I think the biggest accomplishment is finding balance in life.
Georgia Jewel says
It takes great courage to live the life you want, rather than the one society or others say you should want. Continue to do what is best for you and your family and you can’t go wrong. Besides, I’d really miss reading your blog.
I’m going to completely echo Romeo the Cat’s comment. I’m sure more than a few of your classmates envy the balance between work and actual living that you have. I honestly think some people become a little to overwhelmed with the work side of life and completely lose themselves and just become the job. They literal become Bob the Shop Owner as opposed to Bob who has a wife and kids and pets and who golfs and enjoys a nice quiet dinner at the local pub and who just happens to own a store. But I completely understand that drive of “oh crap, I should have done that. Why didn’t I do a b and c like my other classmates?” As a person who has had to take some time off from college I have so been there.
And as a side note to my ramble; this post, and the one before it, totally made me think that there should be some type of vet drama ala Grey’s Anatomy. The last awesome drama I remember that had some veterinary spin was Providence. I miss that show!
Wow – so many insightful comments here. Romeo speaks the truth. I really like this statement by Georgia Jewel: “It takes great courage to live the life you want” – totally agree. Great post Dr V and great comments.
Lisa W says
I second that!! Are you familiar with the old Jackson Browne song “The Pretender”? Very simply, it’s about surrendering the hopes and dreams of your youth in favor of pursuing what America defines as “success.” I feel like that is what I have become. So Dr. V, stick to what is right for you. Speaking for those of us in our late 40’s, it becomes more and more difficult to get out from under that type of thing as more and more time passes….
Lisa W says
(Sorry — guess today is my day to be maudlin.)