I’m currently on night-float in pediatrics. Which is pretty awesome, but also slow enough that I have time to think. Too much time, even. Which is not a good thing… but here it is. Two years have passed (well, a bit more) since I started medical school. A lot has changed. A lot hasn’t changed. Where does that leave me? … Honestly, I’m not sure. The biggest thing, I think, is that now when I look outside, I don’t see a beach or anything. I see snow. Yuck.
(I just have to say – ‘change’ might be the stupidest thing ever.)
When I started college, I told myself that it was the time for me to “change” and become who I “wanted to be.” I wasn’t quite sure who exactly that was, but apparently college was a great time to “discover yourself,” so I figured I’d get in on that. A few good & many bad experiences later, I emerged from college as a graduate. I had a degree!! And yet, far from being who I wanted to be (at least who I thought I wanted to be), I was even more confused and lost – and seemingly even more “off-track” than I had been when I started. I bounced around for a bit (taking random classes, writing, volunteering in Portland for a week, writing in Spokane for a weekend) before I went back to the same mindset I’d had before college. In other words, I figured I had known more of who “I wanted to be” (at least professionally speaking) in high school than I had in college. Weird. (Personality-wise, I still don’t know who I want to be, so that’s a different story.) Also, probably wrong – but how was I supposed to know that then? A BS in Economics had never been part of any plan, or dream, or anything – and after I got it, it still wasn’t part of any plan.
When I moved to Grenada, I told myself the same thing. That was my chance to really change and become who I wanted to be, especially since no one there knew me. It was a whole bunch of new people, I could reinvent myself (sort of) however I wanted. … It took all of 2 days for me to realize that that wasn’t going to happen. I stood out like a sore thumb for pretty much the entire 2 years, but the thing was that it never really bugged me. I was fine with who I was (well, mostly) – I had bigger problems trying to get past what other people seemed to think was the norm, because I didn’t fit it at all. And nor did I care to. Though maybe studying a bit more would not have been such a bad thing. And more importantly, I became very good (bad?) at letting my feelings confuse the fuck out of me – something that continues to this day. Half the time, I can’t even tell if I’m happy, sad, angry or hungry. It’s all just a conglomeration of everything. One thing I did learn in Grenada, which was a complete change more-or-less from all the time in Utah, was that I needed (certain) people around. Not just any random stranger – which is why I’m still deathly scared of New York – but someone I considered a friend (which, honestly, it doesn’t take much for me to consider someone a friend … 1 conversation is more than enough).
Two years after that, I moved again – this time to New Jersey. Again, a shot to change … again, no change really. Admittedly it’s only been like 6 months or so, and I’m mostly around the same friends, but I figure that’s enough time to realize that I really haven’t changed much at all in the past 2 years. At the end of all those chances (using “end” very loosely considering I just moved here), I emerged very much unchanged. And yet, still very different. The Sujal from 6 or 7 years ago would not even recognize this Sujal, who actually talks to people IN PERSON outside of school and ENJOYS it. In fact, he might see that as a sign that something is really, really wrong.
I’m still naive as hell about so many seemingly common things. Not street smarts really, but more just “how do you not know this!?” type of things. I could name multiple Bollywood movies where a car is pretty much a character (Taarzan, Dhamaal, etc.) but couldn’t tell you the first thing about any actual real car. (That’s just an example, but I think it proves my point pretty well.) I mean, it’s always been like that. In middle school, I could have told you all of Bobby Phills’ NBA stats (based on reading the back of a basketball card!), but I didn’t know the first thing about Dickens or Shakespeare or any other “classic” author. Feelings are the most confusing thing since the end of Inception. I’m a total self-defeatist about everything. I guess I kind of lived in a dream world … and I still do, kind of. Maybe dream is the wrong word – I’ve created my own bubble of things I care about, and beyond that I don’t know much of anything. And it’s a very small bubble, one that is shrinking daily as my interests continue to go up in smoke.
My life revolves, more-or-less, around 1) medicine and 2) having people to talk to. That’s the one really glaring change, I guess – I went from being the guy who sat in front of the computer all day (for years!) to a guy who just needs people to talk to (in person or on the computer – I’m fine with either).
I still have an insane number of mostly (totally?) irrational fears … a list that just keeps growing. I don’t even know why there are so many fears, or how to fix them – I learned recently that even facing them head-on (yay for zip-lining and a ropes course, I guess) doesn’t help them go away. I’m still equally fearful of it. … I’m still seeing my interests slowly disappear – some I just don’t care for anymore, others I just don’t have time for. Most annoying, I have very few activities of interest that match up with friends (especially the closest ones). Largely because I have so few activities that interest me in the first place. I pretty much become the “debbie downer” of the group. Which sucks, because I don’t want to be the bad friend in the group. I just don’t enjoy the same things as everyone else – I’d call it being “unique,” but it seems that everyone else just thinks I’m being stupid.
Not that I want to change too much of course – unlike some other people who embrace change (way too much?), I’m perfectly fine with the status quo. And if I’m not, I’ll change it to something I am comfortable with – something that involves the least amount of change to my life necessary. No need to fix something if it isn’t broken – and while I’m not perfect, I’m not going to sit here and say that my lack of similar interests makes me “broken.” Which I guess makes me a bad friend, or at least an insensitive one.
But that’s a story for another day. The whole thing that this stems from is simple – even with nothing changing, so much has changed in the last 2 years that I’m lost in my own life. I don’t even know what I’m fine with and what needs to change.
The two most important factors of my life right now (or at least 2 of the most important) have become the greatest source of confusion. I don’t know why I feel how I do – I definitely didn’t feel that way when everything started. And I don’t understand how there could be such an about-face in thought in just 2 years. Especially when, up until 3 weeks ago, I was too busy to even think about any of this. (That’s not to say I didn’t dwell on it – I did – but I was constantly having to choose between dwelling on thought and studying.) In fact, I felt the exact opposite. And even worse, I don’t know what I can do about it. I’ve tried to change my mindset, but it isn’t that simple as I’m slowly learning.
Enough has changed in the last year that I know there’s no real way to have a reversal of the course of events – the train has changed tracks and is barreling full speed down the wrong (?) track. No changing that. My own past is quick to remind me that lost causes are lost causes. No looking back & hoping now. I had that opportunity before (maybe), I let it go – and now it is completely gone. But I can’t help it. My thoughts, my actions, my insecurities; they’ve left me in an undesirable position. Short of literally grabbing the world by it’s shoulders (a truly impossible task) and shaking it to awaken it, that’s done. As much as it sucks (even more than the first time around, for sure), it’s too late. … I don’t even know what exactly it’s too late for, but recent events would suggest that whatever I’m thinking about, it’s too late. It’s like I was driving for a game winning touchdown – and then I pulled a Mark Sanchez and butt fumbled the ball away. I just fumbled away control of my life simply because I suck at the one thing I’m supposed to be good at (this is still part of Mark Sanchez comparison, for what it’s worth) – living my life. Yes, I suck at living my own life.
There will be other options, of course – hell, this current mess started as a dream beginning to the last self-created mess – but right now it just sucks. I don’t think I want a dream beginning anymore. The last one led me to Grenada, which definitely had it’s ups but also had way too many downs. I can’t work like that. I want this to work out positively (though I don’t know what exactly would be a positive result; I guess only time will tell that). For all the effort I’ve expended that I’ll never get back; for all the time I spent building this world without even realizing it; for everything – I just want it to work out with a positive result. I want to be able to look back at these days and smile, to be able to get lost in wonderful memories, and to be grateful for the decisions I made. I’m sick of regrets – I wish I could overcome that terribly annoying character flaw.
Maybe life is supposed to be hard, maybe it isn’t. Most likely, there’s supposed to be patches of both. I just seem to have a magical way of overly complicating things – I’m like the anti-King Midas. I turn golden opportunities to rubble faster than King Midas can say “gold;” I do it without even realizing what I’m doing. Golden opportunities don’t look golden until they’ve already turned into rubble – it’s like I’m metaphorically blind or something. Or at the least there’s a metaphorical delay between seeing something and my brain recognizing what it is. I’ve missed on a lot of probably great opportunities in life – things that I ignored for various reasons. Some I regret, some I don’t, and others I probably don’t even realize I’ve missed on.
As life moves on, as settings change while the scenarios remain the same, I’m starting to realize that the biggest issue is internal – I have no idea about myself. What I life. What I want from life. What I want to do. At least not until the opportunity has passed, at which point it’s like “fuck, I should’ve done that.”
Point being, change sucks. And as life changes, the more I want it to be the same – while also wanting it to change a lot. I guess the summary of this post is pretty simple … “I’m confused and I don’t know why or what to do about it.” … Time to bid adieu to the most recent missed opportunity to have something change and stay the same – whatever opportunity that was. I probably won’t realize for another month or so.
I just need to stop thinking.