Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Life Begins at 30

image from flickr

The arrival of May often heralds a serious bout of pre-birthday blues for me. I usually spend the two weeks or so before my birthday wallowing about turning a year older and my often vague dissatisfaction with my life. What can I say? I'm a half-empty glass kind of girl. The spectre of another birthday is about enough to suck whatever is left of my optimism dry.

Last year was particularly bad because I wasn't just turning a year older, I was turning a decade older. I was hitting the big "3-OH" with not much to show for it - a bitter pill to swallow when I'd see my non-doctor friends settling into their successful lives. I was digging myself into rut I desperately wanted to get out of but was too scared to esacpe.

This year, as my birthday approaches and I look back at the year that was, I can't find anything to be blue about.

Crazily enough, my decision to take a flying leap into the unknown and get off the seemingly inexorable course of my life has turned into one of the best I've ever made. Taking this temporary breather has opened up my life in the most amazing ways.

So it's true that at the moment I don't have a job that gives me a regular paycheck and I am living on the lagresse of my parents and my very meager residency savings. (Anyone who's been to residency in the Philippines will understand just how meager my savings really are.) And it's true that I haven't really practiced any serious medicine since last December. And it's true that I am still single, with no prospect in sight. And it's true that I am now wandering around with no definite direction, and my life right now is riddled with more questions than there are answers.

But despite all this... (dare I say it aloud?) I'm actually happy. I'm happy being aimless. I'm happy sitting at the roadside for now, watching everyone else run by. I'm happy despite having a huge chasm of uncertainty gaping at my feet (that is, when I am not being terrified - and that only happens when I think too hard about it). I've finally adjusted to living from day to day for now.

This hiatus has helped me appreciate what I've already done and has given me space to do everything I've wanted to do.

I've had the chance to travel to places I'd never had the time to see before. I am finallly writing regularly again. I have a deeper appreciation for being single and fancy free and simply living for me. I've also realized that I actually like being a doctor, and while I still don't think too much of my skills in that part of my life, I miss medicine and will be glad to get back to it when my break is over. In the meantime, there are things to do and places to see and adventures to be had.

It's been a very good year - and I'm already looking forward to the next.

Yes, life really does begin at 30.


Panaderos said...

I'm very happy for you. There are indeed many other things to life aside from our work. What you have done, what you're doing, and what you've learned about yourself are all important. Not all of us get a chance to do that. Years from now, you will surely look back to these days and count them as one of the best times in your life. Take care always, my friend.

Em Dy said...

A good year indeed and yet the best is yet to come! Happy birthday Claire!

dr_clairebear said...

@panaderos: thanks!
i think that everyone should all have a period of being aimless to really be able to get one's bearings in life. those of us who pursue a post-graduate degree right after college or who get a job immediately after graduating don't really get that kind of breathing room.

@em: thank you! :) it's not until two weeks and change, but this is around the time when i am afflicted by pre-birthday blahs. but it's definitely different this year.

Anonymous said...

happy birthday, dr claire! there are great things coming your way i.e working in oz and i wish you all the best.

Anonymous said...

That's to funny. I'm that way too. I dread my birthday and I hate that I am getting a year older. I will be 29 next month.

Manggy said...

Advanced happy birthday Ma'am :) I think part of happiness is realizing that we are not like everyone else and we all have very different paths to take and lives to lead.. I hope yours continues to be a challenging but rewarding one.

SirKramic said...

Hey Hey Heypi Bertday Doc :)

dr_clairebear said...

@mari: thanks! it's been a good year. and i am very grateful.

@april: thanks for the visit and an advanced happy birthday to you, too! :)

@manggy: thank you! :) wise words.

@sirkramic: thanks! :) and many thanks for the visit!

Ness said...

Happy Birthday, Doc_Clairebear!
May this be another great year.