To me the new year’s don’t typically mean much, I mean after all it really is just a trip around the sun but essentially it’s the same day over and over again in a linear fashion, new chances to make a difference. Sometimes though it is necessary to have a starting and stopping point so that we can take a moment and reflect, appreciate all that we have accomplished and solidify what we have learned. This year instead of going through all that I have done or where I went I am going to focus on the top five lessons I learned during my experiences.
Never underestimate ANY time in life.
This last year has been very divided, one half working full time in a limbo time of sorts between schools and half enrolled in medical school. While it would be easy to negate the part in limbo I find that , in reflection, the time spent working was worthwhile. As it was not necessarily instrumental in my future career I feel like the relationships formed with co workers and the time I was able to spend with our patients.
During this limbo time I was able to spend time with my friends. See my family everyday. Save money. Plan an amazing trip to Indonesia. Expose myself to multiple types of people during my days in the clinic. Form a good relationship with one of our doctors. Network with those in the healthcare industry. Get a first-hand look at all the steps that go into a patients care, the trials that occur and the multitude of people to be thankful for when it happens.
I am so thankful for this time even though it felt like it was meaningless but no time on this earth is EVER a waste.
Flexibility & Understanding are critical in maintaining peace and relationships.
One lesson that I seem to always have to work at learning or at least exercising, with this last year no exception, is that I must always remember to walk in someone else’s shoes. Whether it be an old friend who is going on a trip with you and then backs out at the last minute, a coworker who was a bit snippy, a patient who is at their whit’s end and you just happen to get the grunt of their anger and disappointment or a stranger who might not be their best self at the moment you are encountering them, one must always remember that the reaction you are getting, is never about you. This brings me back to walking in other people’s shoes. While you can never truly walk in another’s life and know how they feel you can appreciate that not everyone feels as you do, thinks as you do and functions as you do, even in the exact situation.
It took me a long time to realize that you cannot control someones emotions, that the way someone treats you is NEVER actually about you and you have to accept people for who they are, all of them if you want them in your life.
Understanding that you can only control yourself and that often people are going through an iceberg’s worth of situations where you only see one is key to being at peace with yourself and step towards living a healthy, happy life.
Exposure to other cultures is priceless.
As I mentioned earlier, for part of last year I was planning a trip to Indonesia. While it originally started as a month-long backpacking trip across Java, Lombok and Bali my travel companion backed out at the last minute. Instead of traveling by myself, I traveled for a lesser time to only the island of Bali and the surrounding smaller islands.
I prefer to go to destinations for long term but in a pinch I will go for a couple of weeks and try to milk the most out of the trip as possible. I do sometimes like to live a resort life but most of the time I prefer to immerse myself in tons of culture and get a feel for a life unlike my own. It not only makes me appreciate my own luxuries but also allows me to appreciate lifestyles of other individuals that I believe help me not only in personal development but in my future profession as a physician. There is truly just no way to do this than first hand exposure. Happiness is not only relative but subjective. In Indonesia, while beautiful, has incredibly friendly people, and a vibrant city life there are areas that are so rural and third world that I just could not comprehend. One small set of islands we visited, Nusa Penida, Nusa Ceningan, and Nusa Lembongan with the formers being more so were quite rural with small, unpaved roads and essentially only one main route of transportation. By rural I also mean primitive, the locals lived off the land, some never had even left the islands and others wore very traditional native attire. This exposure gives not only a revised outlook on life but an understanding in to the differences in daily lives of others from our own.
Confidence is a key to success.
With anything it seems like having confidence is a given but when you enter into a field or area of study which can make you feel incompetent and is almost designed to you can start to feel like you don’t have what it takes. Starting medical school this year, I have thought this often in the beginning of my journey, but each time I surprise myself. I found that even just thinking that you have the ability to do something automatically changes the outcome. Changing your mindset to be confident versus questioning every decision you make and your ability will more than likely lead to completion of ones goals and better appreciation your own limitations.
Make yourself a priority.
In a social media world, it is easy to get caught up in what others do, have, accomplish and compare that to ourselves. Given this I have learned to make myself a priority I must never compare myself, my path or choices to other but rather only focus on what makes me happy. Self care is important to me and some things I try to do when I am in need of a pick me up are:
- I love to be a #touristinmytown or state or general area, like visiting the local national and state parks. Pictured here are Castillo De San Marcos in St. Augustine FL and Blue Springs, FL where the Manatees come for the winter.
- I love to sit and relax have a mocktail, cocktail, or beer and enjoy a sunset or beautiful scenery. (This is a lovely beach in Nusa Penida Bali but a simple lake, spring or local field would suffice.)
- I love to try new restaurants!
- I have recently this last year made a point before a busy day to sit down and read a chapter in a book while drinking coffee.
- I also love finding events that are going on in the area and go to the theatre or any other museums and shows.
Granted I don’t always get to do these things, but I try to make an effort to and I think it helps me keep myself as the number. If you don’t care for yourself, you cannot care for others long term!
The point, do what makes you happy and try to share it with others without allowing limitations and ALWAYS keep climbing to the top!
What have you learned this year?