C fumbled with the ring box and dropped it over the ledge, into the water. Then proposed with a ring inside a child-proof prescription bottle with its own saccharine label – “Diamond Ring,” prescribed by C for T.
A lot to be thankful for this year.
“WHAT are you plotting now?!” I moan, fed up with C.
C says that as a child, he used to carry an encyclopedia to elementary school to read during quiet time. “What an annoying little kid,” I laugh. “Know-it-all. Hope our kids don’t turn out so weird.”
But knowing us I’m sure they will. When I ask C what he’s plotting, it’s because even after posting his nth colored spreadsheet with data on medical schools or hospitals on Anastomosed, I see him again at his desk tonight tweaking some new line graphs of who knows what. This kind of obsession can’t be healthy…
I know that from the outside, we are both strange – and stranger together.I am assertive and spendthrift with my words, while C slyly guards his for the right quip, or the right data byte to toss into the conversation. In the same way, he spends hours pouring over data until he finds an evidence-based conclusion, whereas I am quick to follow my intuition and my hypotheses based on personal experience and hearsay. One would guess that I’d be the less reliable and less conservative performer but this often isn’t true. I am much more scared of “getting it wrong” but instead of digging through the data to find out what’s right, I’d rather cover my bases and just try everything just in case. In contrast, when C finds his data-driven answer, he can be easily satisfied. If his forte is this extrospection, mine is introspection in my love of tearing apart what worries me and my drive for figure out how I can change what I do (or how I think) to fix these worries.
There’s really no telling how mess up our kids will be.
A small part of me wonders why working on Wall Street or as a consultant was never a dream for me even though so many of my college friends went into these careers. I understood their dreams and their aspirations, and even admired a few of the ones whom I could tell would be successful or work themselves dead trying. And yet I always sat by smugly in my premed world, knowing that even though our work would be equally challenging (me as a surgeon, they doing what ever it is Wall Street people do at 3 a.m. – fixing spreadsheets? Yelling into expensive phones? Flying to Dubai? Making particularly persuasive Powerpoint slides?) – even though we would both work 80-100 hour weeks – I would be engaged in what would superficially seem the more noble profession.
Yet I never questioned why having to work a 80-100 hour week, whether as a physician or a lawyer or a banker, was something that I valued. After all, what could be more boring than that classmate who graduated college and took up a “corporate job” at some rural head office, working 9-5? Doesn’t that mean you’ve already given up in life and joined the workforce alongside our well-intentioned but oh-so-boring parents?
Recently, however, I read a fabulous Financial Times article about the emergence of a generation of young 20 and 30 somethings who struggle to define their life goals, clinging to what this writer deems “the popular fallacy that you can measure the value of your job (and, therefore, the amount you are learning from it) by the amount of time you spend on it.”
Way to burst the bubble of every eagerly-overworked medical student ever.