The Me I Used To Be

Have you ever thought… I’ve finally reached the end of training and now can start my career. I trudged through college, struggled through nursing school, battled through dentistry residency or suffered through yet another year of an OBGYN fellowship. But I did it! I finally accomplished my ultimate goal and I am officially Lady Maven, MD/ RN/DPM/PA/DMD!….But now what?

Our career paths as women in medicine are often long and filled with sacrifice. Some of us forfeit our days of poor decision making, partying and reckless spending for study sessions and review courses. Others give up years of improved egg fertility for the potential to better support future children. And some sacrifice themselves while trying to balance school and a family. But in the end it is all worth it?

Despite that, is it still fair to ask, what now? What happens when we no longer have to make the sacrifices we once did and have more time for ourselves. Yet during those years of sacrifice, we often lose site of who we really are. It’s harder now to recall our previous passions, hobbies and personal joys. We have more time for our creative selves but we don’t know where to begin the creative process.

In an effort to fill in the creative gap, I propose that we look to our past; life before medicine. As children and young adults, we are more carefree and filled with talent and creativity. We are socially groomed to “pick a path” and stay on it and often times those childhood joys get moved to the back burner. So when tasked with using my new found time, career success and a few extra dollars, I started by returning to the me I used to be!

As a kid I was very athletic, playing soccer and running track for most of middle and high school. I was surprised by how much I didn’t mind the creative writing assignments in English class and decorating our dorm room on a college students budget was one of my most exciting challenges. My time away from school was usually spent with my closest friends playing games like spoons, practicing for our made up singing group or laughing with neighbors, the guy versions of us, about absolutely nothing. So with some serious self reflection and inspiration from other Mavens who decided to explore the people they used to be, I decided to take the time machine back to a more carefree and adventurous day.

After finishing residency, I started exploring some creative endevours. I took an interior design course at SVA which certainly proved that interior design is more than just throw pillows and paintings on the wall.  I made time spent with friends and the people closest to me my passion and hosted regular game nights and patio get togethers. And of course, what good hostess doesn’t have an obsession with Homegoods! Now with a new cross country move, itself an homage to the more adventurous me, I decided to join a zogsports soccer team, which was a quick reminder that the me I used to be was 16 and didn’t have to stretch for 3 hours before playing a 20minute pickup game. And it goes with out saying that working with my fellow Mavens to create a blog was absolutely inspired by a “why not try” youthful spirit.

So while we continue to grow in our careers, become mothers and wives, start saving and paying off school loans, I encourage all Mavens  to make a return to their previous selves. Make time in your schedules for one new creative venture, one activity that you do solely because you love it despite how good you may be at it, host one more 90s hip hop party. Allow your scientific, logical and  medically tuned left brain to reunite with its long lost artistic, spontaneous and emotional right brained twin (I know the idea of brain lateralization has been debunked but it worked so well so go with it! ) Take a moment, better yet, many moments, to remind yourself that a Maven in Medicine is just the beginning of who you have the potential to be.

What hobbies would you like to revisit?

-STS