Nov 8, 2017

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood


I woke up at 5 o'clock in the morning to the sound of my blaring alarm from my phone. I slept with the lights on, in my crumpled up bed, half-naked (shirt off) with my phone in my hand. I was parched, and in a drowsiness too heavy I couldn't recall what did I do last night before falling asleep. The notifications on the top bar of my phone lined up one after another, but none of them are worthy to rouse me up to full attention.


I sighed. Grogginess aside, I felt disheartened at the sight of my room. Messy, as usual, and I don't have even an ounce of motivation to do the cleanup. The carpet needs major vacuuming to be done and I keep postponing to do it. My bags I used from the previous getaway are scattered on the floor. For someone who lives alone and only 60km from home, I keep a lot of bags with me. Seven, in total, which is like way too much. Maybe it reflects my state of mind, perhaps?


The discarded box of KFC delivery I chucked was on the far corner of room, waiting to be cleaned up. That was my dinner last night. Before that, my last meal was another dinner around the same time, which was McDonald's delivery. And before that was the McDonald's breakfast delivery. I take a lot of deliveries, which worries me a lot (you know, because of the calories and the cholesterol) but it is never strong enough to stop me from ordering the next one. 


I am right to be concerned about this sedentary lifestyle of mine (a quick search on Google enlightened me that it's not a sedimentary lifestyle, as in sedimentary rocks because you know, rocks don't do anything at all and that's what I aspire to become but it's sedentary, as in from French s├ędentaire or Latin sedentarius, from sedere which means ‘sit’).


Anyway, yes, it troubles me. More than that, it nudges me to contemplate the debate that I am having for quite some time now. I have been questioning myself for months about this direction of life of dear mine. It is nearing a year of me working as a houseman and I am still as clueless and, for a lack of better term, directionless, of where or what I should do in the not-so-far future that looms by.


I fall in the category of people who cannot, cannot afford to drop Medicine and pursue something else. Those who do are incredibly brave, or incredibly driven to do so, and that is not me. The same can be said to those who choose to stay; brave, driven, yet at the same time some of us who clueless or hate what we are doing do not have any courage to do anything about it.


And for that particular group of people, there's always a general consensus that there are two disciplines of practice that we houseman can pursue as a medical officer: clinical or non-clinical. What else is there anyway? People I have met keep saying they want to be a non-clinical doctor, but what exactly they want to do? Is it research? Is it administrative work? It's not good to just say what you want to be, but please elaborate on how you are going to do it because I don't know the clear path to non-clinical works.


I really don't know what to become. Being a clinical doctor is so exhausting and it's not something that I enthuse about. I did have an ambition to become a specialist in emergency medicine, but a quick reality checkup had changed my perception on becoming one. So much so that I am not remotely interested in becoming a specialist in any field that is clinical. I guess what I said earlier is right - you have to be driven at work to do this. No one who is not driven will try their damn best to be a specialist.


Over time, what I think I crave more and more is this simple thing - a more balanced work life. This is simply impossible to do in Medicine, hence the reason for my frustration. I want that two magic sentences: 9-to-5 and weekends off.  These are things that I never tasted in my miserable beginning year of working as a junior houseman. Nor anyone else. But that does not make me feel better.


Yeah, sure, I should have known this before I signing up the whole gig years ago. And it's not like I don't know about this working arrangement. It's just that I thought at that time that I can handle it. I still can handle it, but until when? Until I get used to it? Until I let go of my


Ah, never mind.


As I watched the people around me eating their breakfast (you guessed right, I'm in McDonald's right now), I keep wondering what kind of jobs they are doing (not the McDonald's staff, duh). The man in blue shirt tucked in jeans in front of me, what does he do for a living? The couple next to me, do they like their job? The one with the earphones on, watching tentatively over her phone, what time she starts her work and what time she clocks out?


And the reason I am still contemplating and remain clueless is the unmentioned hmm, should I call it blessing, even though it's just salary I'm talking about? Yes, the salary. For someone who just started working, it is quite a large sum. And working in government will guarantee you an annual salary rise (it's not much, but still wow) not to mention the once-promised premise of job security they can offer. All this time I never have to think twice before ordering my meals or buying expensive gadgets or going someplace remote for a quick getaway.


I have drowned myself in this expensive cesspool of lifestyle with no lifeline to pull myself out of this mess. Too much of comfort and luxury lifestyle that enforces my belief that I can't survive without the monthly salary that I am having and that other pursuits of happyness will not give me the same monetary advantages as the one I have right now.


But I can't live like this. This is eating me from inside. There must be more than... this. Whatever this it is. Life should be about waking up in the morning, have a walk or do some gardening, work until 5 pm, then off to resume your life, joining other people with their activities, free over the weekends to catch up with the rest of the world.


Life shouldn't be about wondering what to do your whole life. Life shouldn't be like a burning candle, forever flicking in wondering whether it burns bright enough as it burns its life away. Life should not be spent contemplating about the next step of the way as the road slowly displaying the divergent of the paths the thicker you go into the woods. 

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