I’m sure you’ve heard this line before – your life will begin at consultancy. I have to say I’m over it. This narrative that your life isn’t meaningful until you’ve successfully completed your fellowship.
I’m calling BS.
Medicine is a never ending list of ‘just wait until you’ve done this’. First it starts with your high school self trying to get into medical school. Once you’re in, it’s then your yearly exams and graduating med school. After this you’re not done yet, you’re a very junior doctor with provisional registration.
At this level, you can’t do anything yet. You need to achieve general registration, which takes one year of working. With general registration alone you’re still not able to do anything with it, besides junior hospital work. So you need at least one more year experience.
With residency under your belt, you’re now able to apply for most specialties. Or, if you’re particularly ambitious, your chosen specialty may require a few more years experience first. Then the new rigamarole starts, the specialty training programs.
As per most specialised doctors, your life has still not begun yet. It only starts when you’ve completed these training programs. Everything up until that point is not really life yet, once you’ve done this last little part (this is it they promise) you’re free. The world will magically open up, and you’ll see a huge breadth of opportunity.
This is where I really start to have a problem.
I’m getting closer to 30. The nearing third decade of my life is making me reflect on everything I’ve done so far. A hell of a lot of study and work. 13 years of school, five years of university, three years of work. 21 years of work in total, four years of being a kid and two years of mucking about.
In that time I’ve cultivated a loving family, an amazing relationship with my husband and supportive friends. My interests and passions include writing, reading, art, the beach and travel. Personally, my work is the least most important aspect of my life.
Senior doctors telling me that my life has not yet begun, and won’t begin until I’ve completed a training program is beyond me.
Why does the medical profession persist with this false narrative?
It is false. Life starts now. Today. This very second.
Reach out and grab it. Because living based on a promised future is fanciful.
For me, living is going to the beach on a sunny day. Spending the weekend with loved ones. Having the afternoon free to read, write or paint. Grabbing a coffee in the morning.
It’s not something that will happen once I’ve done more training, I can tell you that much.
What’s living to you?