I’ve realized in the last few months, that I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.
Don’t get me wrong, there are parts of my job that I adore and I have had the amazing opportunity to live in some super-cool places and meet some incredibly amazing people. In the last few years however, for many different reasons, I’ve started wondering if there isn’t a little more out there I’m supposed to be doing.
We (doctors? moms? females? males? teachers? atheletes? humans?) high-acheivers are always looking for more, and there are times in my life when I consciously decided I was going to just “become” one of those people who lived in the moment and were able to just “go with the flow”. That usually lasted all of 2 minutes before I thought of something else to go on my daily “to do” list (which usually has bulleted subpoints by breakfast time).
But that’s not the “more” I’m talking about…..I’m talking about the “more MEANING” not the “more DOING”. It’s been an interesting time of learning to say no (and yes), of giving up things (and starting new things) of taking chances and of knowing when it’s ok not to and I’ve been writing it all down along the way…looking for patterns and inspiration.
Interestingly, it’s easy to start seeing the patterns when you look for them in that “un-fix your eyes and stare and the 3D image will pop out at you” kind of way, and there are lots of them I’ve found- more to follow on some of them. However in the last week one has become a little clearer and I think it’s gonna be a key part of whatever turn in the path I take next. Perhaps I’m even already headed down that path…
It all sort of culminated yesterday at the end of what was a particularly frustrating day. I headed out for my first post-marathon run (which I’m sure I’ll have to talk about at a later time) and it was simply glorious! The sun was amazing and warm, the scenery was beautiful and as I was running I could feel the annoyance of the day slip away in the encouragement of the sun. And just like that I “saw” another of those patterns: encouragment. That’s what I like to do; that’s when I feel strongest and feel most like I’m doing something more.
I thought back over the day- to the mom I saw in clinic who broke down (and I mean sat down on the floor sobbing) when I told her I thought her baby boy was perfectly normal after she’d spent the weekend worrying about what she thought was a physical flaw. I thought of the mom who was prepared to fight me mama-bird, wings-out in protection mode-style when I walked in to talk to her about starting the immunizations she’d chosen not to giver her children this far, and how she also teared up when instead of condeming-accusing fingers I gave her commendation/encouragment hands. I thought of the two-three people per week who’ve written me via facebook in the last few months to ask me medical questions they were scared to ask their doctors (or had asked their doctors and not felt “heard”). People I haven’t seen in years- and yet those “conversations” of encouragement do more for me most times that what I get paid to do does. I thought of the once-acquaintance, now friend, who I’ve watched go from running a couple of miles to being excited about an upcoming 9 miles, that I have loved sending encouragement back and forth with. I also thought of how grateful I am for those friends who have encouragingly walked with me through some difficult times in my life, and the difference that’s made and the bond that usually follows. I thought of the encouragement it is sometimes just to say with your presence-and your silence at times- a simple “I understand” when there’s nothing else to say.
All of this was running through my mind in movie-reel style as I was receiving that encouragement from the sun, and I realized that’s what I want to do when I grow up- encourage.
I’m not sure what that’s going to look like just yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to involve the sun, and exercise, and trails and investing in others and their dreams, including kids (because no matter if my “office” is inside or outside I will always be a pediatrician). It’s actually pretty fun- and encouraging- to think about! Now, I just have to figure out a way to pay the bills doing it….
So, I’m interested to hear about what encourages you? Have you found ways to make a “living” out of doing something that encouarages you? Or to find strength to do your “job” by focusing on things you feel strengthened by?