The other day, I was watching Grey’s Anatomy and the show did what it does best. It got me, SO GOOD. I’ll spare you the details , but the show wraps with a character’s narrative over the closing scenes. In it, she says “did you make the most of this terrible, beautiful life? Did you let go of all the things that held you back? So you can hold on to what matters most?”
These lines both filled me with excitement, and made me cry. Maybe the crying was due to the climactic music in the background. I know I’ve made fun of myself for having this outlook that’s very expected of someone who’s recently been confronted by their mortality; the way I make the most of my life looks quite different from how others may see it.
Maybe it is true that “nobody looks back on their life and remembers the nights they got plenty of sleep.” But you know what else I would remember when I look back on my life? The day I graduated college. The first patient I lost. The day I watched my little brother graduate from MIT. Those are the things I will remember, the things that mean so much to me. That’s how I will make the most of my life. I absolutely cannot expect anyone else my age to feel the same as I do. I remember feeling totally invincible, like I could do it all. I worried about things like bad hair days, or annoying roommates. I could afford to be inconvenienced by day-to-day-things, because there was always a guarantee that tomorrow would be there.
Until there wasn’t. That day I nearly died, part of me DID die. But it’s ok, I’m better for it. The part of me that avoided wearing out-of-season shoes, and that was totally fine with being an average student, that part died. I will never, ever, say that any part of my accident was a blessing, but it did strengthen me in ways I wouldn’t ever have learned any other way.
Every day, it’s like having a bad hair day, but on my face. Not ideal, doesn’t look great, but I have to leave the house and get on with my life. Just like yucky hair, I wish I could just cover it up and nobody would notice it, but unlike yucky hair, I can’t just start over the next time I shower. This is one of the things I’ve had to let go of, and as you can see, I’m still working some things out. Towards the end of the school year last year, I kind of hit a wall with my frustration over my face.
Every morning, I would stand in front of the mirror, with my eyes cast down, and hope I would look up and see the old me. And every morning, I went through the same despair. It was exhausting just existing, and I just kind of decided this wasn’t worth it. Spring semester was probably my most rigorous academic semester ever, and I had to focus all of my spare energy on being successful in school without losing it. My face, it is what it is and it isn’t what it isn’t.I’m so thankful for my friends and family who listen to me whine, but am also grateful for those who won’t tolerate my wallowing. Really, I’m just grateful for anyone who’e still around.
I apologize for my lengthy silence. I am (happily) neck-deep in studying during this last semester of school, wrapping everything up. I am officially employed, and the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight!