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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Life Less Interesting

This year, I made a huge and perhaps irrevocable decision to study medicine. I did this because for too long I've felt that my identity has been up for grabs, so now, for the first time in my life, I mean to choose something, and to pursue it, and to stop acting as though my identity is so precious and fragile and unique that I can't just decide on some path and then follow it.

It hasn't been easy. Now that I am studying math and anatomy and physiology and chemistry, subjects that interest me mostly to the extent I'm able to master them, I don't have the means to pursue spiritual discovery, make art, travel, or read stories and novels. And while I know that I will never truly lose my desire to follow such pursuits, I worry that such pursuits will atrophy in me.

I am sitting in a cafe right now, where I will study for my math exam. I will review formulas, and the definitions of real numbers, and the rules of factorization - all the stuff that back in high school I remembered for as long as it took me to complete my homework assignments and then promptly forgot, usually right before the exam. I just wasn't interested in math and science.

Which is very shortsighted of me, because I figure that when and if I get the chance to practice medicine, all those numbers and chemical reactions and action potentials will be in the background of my mind as I consider the person who's right there in front of me, trying to express how they are sick, and my job will be to discover why.