Sunday, November 30, 2008

When the Caged Bird Refuses to Fly

Last day of November. This is also my last duty as senior house officer. Tomorrow starts a new month. Tomorrow, starts my countdown to a different life, the life that I've forgotten about - the life outside PGH. Put a bird in a cage for so long. It will not fly out of the cage even if you leave the door open. The door of my cage is open now. I'm afraid to fly out. The world out there is so big, so unfamiliar. It's terrifying to be out of the cage and I don't know if I can still fly.

Starting December 16, I'll practically be a bum. And as of today, 15 days before that fated morning, I still don't have the slightest idea what choice I'll end up making. I have submitted my application for Cardiology fellowship, but I have to admit it was more of a second choice, a comfortable safety net just in case the best choice fails to work out. The greatest problem is this: I don't know my best choice.

I had thought one year of administrative work that is chief residency would buy me time to make up my mind and know my exact place in the world. I didn't know chief residency would actually muddle up things. Now, there are so many wonderful options all laid out on a silver platter, very well arranged, each offering a promise of an exotic out-of-this world experience. The chance to do something and change the world is right there. The only difference is how, and as what.

Being a believer of process instead of product, I'm having a very difficult time making up my mind. Throughout my term as chief resident, I only have one guiding principle: whatever is right. My residents can attest to this. Whenever there are disposition problems or conflicts with other departments, I've always asked them, "What do you think is the right thing to do?" And so far, that principle has guided me well.

This time, everything seems right. It's time to choose what's best. And oh boy, choosing what's best is far more difficult.

I've been obsessively probing my Subconscious lately. I realized that I'm afraid of that big, terrifying, unknown world that is so full of adventures and surprises both good and bad. I've lived in the comforts of my cage for so long. I don't think I'm ready to spread my wings and explore the world yet. But what if it's not the big wild world outside that is freaking me out? What if it's actually the thought that if I fly away and Destiny finally comes looking for me in my cage, I'm no longer there?

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