Future Decisions

Now that husband’s job situation is sorted out, I have recently been thinking about my own future.

The major questions that I’m considering are:
1. Should I go back into medicine or not?
2.  If I do go back into medicine, which field?

This impending decision has loomed over me all year, always at the back of my mind.  Because the time to start gathering all of the material required to re-enter the residency match is approaching, I know that I need to make a decision soon, like within the next few weeks.

My thought process on answering question 1 is that I’ve already invested an enormous amount of time, energy, and money into getting my MD, so the logical next step would be to continue in medicine but in a different field.  The problem is that my whole being is completely rebellious to the idea of starting over again.

Why?  Well, my former classmates will be done with their fellowships and out in practice by the time I finish even a 3 year residency.  Plus, residency isn’t exactly a walk in the park, even with the work hours rules and even at a supportive program like the one I used to be a part of.  Now that I know what’s coming – long hours, exhaustion and stress, lots of paperwork and red tape, overwhelming busyness, constant anxiety about whether or not I’m making the right decisions – I’m finding it difficult to choose this path again willingly.  That is, assuming that there’s a program that will even take me.  A non-surgical residency will probably be less physically demanding but I am sure that every field has its own frustrations and challenges.  And with the increasing dissatisfaction of physicians across the board, life beyond residency doesn’t appear to be all that appealing.  See also this article – the comments are particularly depressing.

Some people would say that this opportunity to get out of medicine is actually a gift.  I also happen to have a wonderful husband who is incredibly supportive and who genuinely wants me to pursue something that will make me happy.  In fact, he is constantly suggesting alternate career paths for me: art therapy, public health, counseling, caterer, event planner, etc.

But if I’m honest with myself, I’m afraid to leave medicine.  If I jump ship and start over in a new career, it’s just…completely unknown (scary), plus I will have wasted the last 12 years of my life* and thrown away $250K that would still need to be paid back.  But I’m also fearful of the alternative, that I will end up miserable, bitter, and a stranger to my (future) kids if I continue in the medical field.

I wish I could write a neat conclusion here and just be done with the whole thing.  But man, making these decisions is hard.   And I haven’t even gotten to question 2 yet!  So as I continue to sort through these thoughts, the only things I can do are: spend time with my heavenly Father who is so good and faithful, and look to Him to clear away this haze of fear and help me to follow where He is leading me.  That’s all.

*edit to the above: I wrote this in a pretty negative state of mind, but I would actually never consider any of this time a waste in terms of the amazing people that I’ve met during those times, skills and knowledge learned, and life lessons experienced.

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9 thoughts on “Future Decisions

  1. Praying for wisdom and peace for you as you make these tough decisions! You are totally loved whichever you choose. Life is short, Eleasa. Do something that will make you happy. And let me know if you want to get into event planning!

  2. “Why? Well, my former classmates will be done with their fellowships and out in practice by the time I finish even a 3 year residency.”

    I have two words: “so what?”

    I guess you have to ask yourself what made you want to pursue medicine in the first place and whether that love is still there. You have your MD, do you believe in your own skilling and competency to be a good physician? I guess all I’m trying to say is to not talk yourself out of it without seeing what programs are out there.

    (Can you pay back the $250K, THEN walk away? Sorry, had to ask…)

    Also, I think everyone knew what you meant (re: wasted the last 12 years) that you didn’t have to clarify.

    Lastly, thank you for sharing. These are real decisions, real fears; and while we’re taught not to make decisions out of fear, well, fear is fear. But most of all, the fact that you have the prudence to consider that you don’t want to be “bitter, miserable, or a stranger to your kids” as you make these decisions is admirable. Best to you. Will pray.

    • So good to hear from you Sam Joe! It’s true that I’ve been gripped by fear, and I’m truly praying for God to free me from it so I can think clearly and move forward. Thank you for praying. It is much appreciated.

  3. Will definitely be praying for wisdom for you, Eleasa! Those are really tough decisions. I’m so thankful that we serve a God who redeems our circumstances, whether we make “good” choices or ones that we may regret later. It takes some pressure off our decision making when we know He is faithful no matter what. Love you, sister!

    • Thanks so much for your prayers Cheryl! And thank you also for the reminder about the redeeming nature of God. I’ve been reading in Romans lately how being a “slave of God” leads to sanctification and eternal life….which kind of means to me that we always win in the end. Love you too!

  4. I know what you mean about not wanting to be back to something you’ve already done, especially when your cohort has already moved on. Being in seminary for 7 years (having taken 2 time-offs for babies) means that I’ve seen 3 cohorts graduate before me. One of my dear friends from some of my first seminary classes has already been an Associate Pastor for a few years now! It’s hard to keep plugging along when you feel like everyone else has already moved on. But we just need to keep holding onto his hand and follow step by step — wherever that might be and however that might look… even if it is not how we thought it should look or at the pace that we wanted (I am preaching to myself now!). 🙂

    Don’t let the money dictate where you go. What is he calling you to now? What is the orientation of your heart? What are you longing to do? Those are the questions that need to be asked. Thanks for sharing the authenticate place you are at in your journey!

    • Thanks so much for your encouragement, Mary Ann! I very much resonated with your post today, so yes, I totally get what you’re saying!

      I do understand the need to let go of the money issue. Thank you for giving me good questions to consider as I spend time with God. I think that I probably know the answer deep down, but it’s far too easy to get bogged down by all of the difficulties.

  5. Pingback: My Journey to Match Day | Lemony Fresh

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