Monday, February 13, 2012

Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall

In terms of finances, I am about to reach the winter of my life. After 2 years of living on politician's dole-outs and one year of being a market-driven company investment, I am down to my last pay check. Long rainy days are yet to come, however, when I know I will be scraping the barrel, looking for my last crumbs of bread, living on Lucky Me pancit canton and canned tuna while studying for the last board exams of my life. How I would survive without asking for money from my folks, I really don't know. It would take a miracle, maybe manna will fall from heaven, or I will win in a lottery I don't even bet on.

Nevertheless, moving on to another phase of my life is something to look forward to. Going through another set of birthing pains is another adventure to get excited about. Maybe things will get better soon. Perhaps I need to go through these dark months of my life so I would appreciate the times when I actually have a few bills in my pocket. Perhaps I need to endure a week long diet of pancit canton and develop a talent in extending a single can of Century Hot and Spicy tuna for 3 full meals so I would learn to appreciate a warm Jollibee meal. Winter is here. Time to look for snowflakes. I heard they're beautiful.

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While Shakespeare spoke of the winter of discontent, I speak of the spring of my discontent and the autumn of my idealism. The recent events in my life were like a slap on my face, a loud wake up call that shook me out of my slumber. I've been living in this little utopian universe of my own making. A world where everyone is good, sincere, incapable of doing anyone else harm, free of any trace of wickedness and greed. Well, maybe I'm exaggerating. But my point is, I used to think that the world revolves on one basic tenet - the Golden Rule. Be nice, and everyone will be nice to you. Do good and everything will come back to you. Serve without expecting for anything in return. Love without limit. Recently however, I realize I failed to think about one thing - money. Yes, money. Love does not make the world go round. Money does.

I write this as I sit on my treadmill. I'm a 32 year old physician, an almost-cardiologist who actually sleeps on a mattress laid on a treadmill machine. People my age have cars, investments, several properties such as real estate, huge savings in the bank. While I sleep on a treadmill machine because I can't afford a decent apartment. Is this worth it? The girl who will change the world actually sleeps on a treadmill machine?!? Isn't that ridiculous.

Now I can't wait for all this to be over. So this is what happens when you finally realize you were being naive and stupid for a very long time. I deserve something better.

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Will I be just another shark in the ocean? I wonder. Now that I have reached the autumn of my idealism, I could not help but worry about how I have transformed into a different person throughout my seven years of postgraduate medical training. Have I become so heartless? Has my patience and tolerance been reduced to minimum and my temper to extremely explosive? I know I am still functional. I still project that image of authority and professionalism. But inside me, I know I'm going nuts. If this isn't compassion fatigue, I don't know what is.

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And then there's summer. Sometimes, no matter how tired you are or how screwed up you think you have been, you just can't help but count your blessings. There are unexpected circumstances, people who just come from out of nowhere who bless you with their presence. Sometimes the sun even shines from half the world away and you still feel its warmth. These are the rays of light that make you hope for something again. I wait for that ray of sunshine everyday. I hope it never stops coming.




2 comments:

Rheuma Jr. said...

Jean, we all have that feeling when fellowship is about to end. I know the feeling, and it could really make you depressed.

You haven't even counted in the "pains" of starting your practice. Like clinic fees, registration fees, BIR, etc! (You wouldn't believe how much I shelled out in the first 4 months of my practice! It was 50% of what I'd get in a year as a fellow!!!! )I was just lucky that Mama Pen was willing to accept me in their group practice without selling one of my kidneys. The first couple of years would make you question why you ever went into Med. But somehow, the Golden Rule does get around and it will eventually work in your favor.

Anonymous said...

I almost felt guilty about reading this - until I realized you posted this and I wasnt reading unauthorized an uber personal diary. This was too raw, too honest, almost felt like it was too much info for a stranger like me.
Anyway, just wanted to say dont feel too in awe of your money making peers. Believe me, money gives happiness only to a certain extent. Some of the most miserable persons I've been with (around our age at 30s) are millionaires. But hear them speak and you almost feel like you are listening to Solomon as he cries "meaningless, meaningless!" I'm a hard core finance-person and I still believe that love makes the world go round or as the less cheesy version goes - "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."