Y'know, normally, I am a bit of a social butterfly. I used to go to a lot of parties and such. Recently however, I've been very antisocial. Truth be told, I'm sick of dealing with other people. Honestly. Anyway, I mention this because tomorrow I'm going to a get together, and my heart is just not in it. I think to myself that I could just skip it and take a nap. And somehow, that sounds like a good idea. I'm not sure what's wrong with me lately. One of my housemates keeps asking me if I'm doing okay. I'm actually doing pretty well. I just don't feel very upbeat.

Maybe I'm not okay. That's a distinctive possibility. Maybe I'm depressed (unlikely) or despondent or something. Maybe being surrounded by all this death is jading me to existence. I don't know. All I know is that I could skip out on the festivities tomorrow and not feel bad about it.

The thought occurred to me that maybe this is not something I should frown upon. I've spent all this time getting back in touch with who I am. Why should I question now what I've spent so long reacclimating to? Maybe this is me. Maybe I really am a 'goes to the movies by himself' sort of person. I know that I'm getting back in touch with my utter preppiness. I'm dying to wear my new sports coat, or even the old one really.

You know, in the process of getting to know yourself, you end up doing things to test just who you really are. And a lot of it is simple self-indulgence. I don't feel like doing this, so I won't. I don't feel like getting out of bed, so I won't. Let it stew. Let it fester. Eventually, you discover what gets you, what moves you along.

The one thing that I learned about myself is that I place no value in praise. I've won my fair share of awards and recognition. Today my senior told me that he really appreciated that our lists were so up to date, and on all the services he'd been on, he'd never had a list so well done. I'm sure he meant it in a complimentary way. I couldn't have cared less. Why should I be praised for doing what I'm supposed to do? That's ridiculous. If I did something outstanding, then sure, I would like some thanks. But please, for doing what I'm supposed to do, I expect nothing. I've always believed that when someone trusts you to do something, that's sacred. That means you do it, and you do it right.

It's why I've never felt comfortable when attendings tell me that I'll make a good resident. Their opinion is based on the fact that I do what I'm expected to do? Would you congratulate your computer for not crashing? Would you reward your heart for beating? There shouldn't be a reward for doing what you're supposed to do. One of my friends in college was right about me. I'd make a terrible boss, because I expect things to be done, because it's what I'd expect from myself.

And I realized that to myself, I'll never be outstanding. Never. Every time I achieve something notable, I'll always know that it was simply what I should have done anyway. No matter what the world says, I always hold myself to a higher standard. And I think that something my mom told me when I was 12 is sort of the truth behind me. I got a C in one of my subjects, and my mom scolded me. I told her that I tried. And she looked me in the eye and I knew that she could see right through me. "The important thing is that you do your best." And that's the standard I've always held myself to.

Maybe that's why I'm so disappointed with myself sometimes. It's the knowledge that I have not done my best.

On a side note, I helped a couple ladies push their car into a parking lot today. I drove by them and I had to stop and turn around, because in my mind, I knew that if I drove away, I wouldn't be able to forgive myself. How could I call myself a God-fearing Catholic if I drove off without helping a couple women with a broken down car? Y'know, medical school has taught me one thing about life: if you don't walk the path, it doesn't matter that you know the way.

1 comment:

Cait said...

Having just discovered your blog, I've been enjoying reading and noting your perspective(s) on medicine (etc.) and how similar they are to my own.
Fascinating reading (and some measure of reassurance) - thanks!