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Existentialism sponsored by Florence and the Machine

April 28, 2010

I am going to attempt to articulate something which has quivered under the surface for a while. My blog is primarily a place to get all my random thoughts down, but having looked back on a couple of entries, I think my narrative is getting caught up in the fantasy of what is a huge life change and learning curve. Don’t get me wrong, I am very excited by all this, but I don’t really want to be swept away and romanticise everything that comes by; this isn’t a variant of Eat Pray Love.

I am trying to come to terms with the myth that I have had little control over my life in the last 6 years. I often think of medicine as a pair of shackles, tying me down and preventing me from doing what I really want to do. I am choosing to go abroad at this stage, and if I was looking at it through rose-tinted lenses then I guess it would be a wonderful plot for an afternoon TV movie – girl decides that life > medicine and gallops off in search of a different life, but I have to accept one thing: I fell into the trap of thinking that I was being dragged along with few opportunities to make decisions for myself.

The truth is, somewhere between adolescence and adulthood, I started medical school with clinical depression and both worked well together in indulging me. I had depression: there was a grey haze over everything and for 2 years, I just existed. I was at medical school: a big chunk of my life bitten into and there’s no way off the conveyor belt. It can take a while for the reality of a situation to flick you on the forehead, but I used both as excuses to conduct the way I lived my life for a long time; relationships, restaurants, consumerism, the lot. And when you reach the question: ‘Did I really allow circumstances to dictate so much?’ then the answer can make you feel a bit gloomy.

Not to be too hard on myself, it’s a very human trait not to want to take responsibility for ourselves and our actions. It’s always going to be easier saying, ‘How can YOU do this to ME?’ I just wish that when I was reading all of this in The Ethical Slut, I had taken a step back and realised that I was doing ok relationship-wise (yes darling, I don’t mind you fucking other people) but I was happy to throw my Cheese and Onion across the room and wallow in the idea that medicine was this big bad monster making me sacrifice so many things, oh the hilarity.

Bali Beachin'

What does this mean now? Well, my flight (yes, singular) is booked and there is no turning back. If my narrative is changing then I need to figure out what it is. Paradoxically, if I am taking three years off to do what I actually want, then maybe I have to become grounded and take more responsibility for it. Self-awareness can be a bitch in that respect.

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Eat Pray Love: I won’t lie, I absolutely loved this book. There is no doubt that there are some huge gaps which the author has left out, but we take our pain and shape it as we see fit, so I’m not going to berate her for that. It was one of the first books I read after my breakup – any other time in my life, and perhaps I would cast a more cynical eye on it but it bought me a great deal of comfort during some lonely evenings in Bangkok. The fact that I went to Bali a few months later was a coincidence.

Re: this post’s title: Dog Days are Over seems to be the soundtrack for every TV/movie trailer. Maybe it’s more to do with what I’m watching?

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