When I was accepted into the Fogarty I knew I would change, that I would grow. I knew I would become a much more accomplished clinical scientist and that I would learn a lot about myself and who I want to become. I didn’t anticipate the wild ride it would be. I didn’t foresee such massive increases in my self-confidence and clarity in what I want in life.
I’ve needed this year. It’s cost me a lot; my friends have matched together, their next stage in life decided. And, here I sit unsure what will happen in a year. I still have so many questions regarding my future and direction. I’ve put distance between my friends/family and myself that no amount of gchat, skype credit, or facetime can change. I pushed away the person that matters most to me. Despite these challenges and tribulations, I know that this year was necessary for my self-growth, for me to be a much better physician, and to be the best human being I can be.
My whole life I’ve needed outside validation. I’ve reveled the thrills of adding another succulent line to my CV and felt the terror of continuing to feel obligated to top my past accomplishments. I can’t be a failure. I can’t settle. I have to be the best. At least that’s what I used to think. Though it’s a trap that’s easy to fall into again. I’ve started to realize that the metric system I employed most of my life to measure my self-worth was based on what others thought of me. Not what I thought of myself. Happiness was based on what I thought others believed to be important and not what I valued.
Coming to this epiphany really lifted a burden I didn’t know I carried. I’ve been so terrified of disappointing everyone else that I forgot that I shouldn’t disappoint myself. Not that those things don’t sometimes coincide, but sometimes I find these two views clash. When they do, for some reason, I think everyone else is right and I must be mistaken. Ironically, I am the one that was wrong all along. I don’t need to worry about what others think of my life and my accomplishments as long as I find my own happiness. With this in my mind now I am approaching things with a new resolve. I will do what makes me happy and what I deem to define me. I will not hunt the validation of others. I am proud of myself. I already see this new view beginning to change my priorities and dreams, but I know this will lead to new adventures full of infinitely more passion, satisfaction, and love.