More Or Less Adventure?
I've been away, mentally, for the last couple of months.
I've discovered the funny thing that no one tells you - that figuring out your first job after training will be acutely stressful and emotionally trying. Well not exactly - of course I knew it would be stressful, but the magnitude was unexpected. In retrospect, I should have seen it coming. The lengthy on-ramp to a career in medicine allows you to have tunnel vision, to some extent. For the longest time, the next step ahead of you is rather obvious - med school, residency, fellowship.
One day, somewhere in your last year of fellowship, you realize that you've just about arrived at a yawning chasm - there is no obvious next step, and you really have to decide what you're going to do with your life. Ok - perhaps a little bit dramatic, but needless to say, you can't have everything, and choosing your first job calls into question what's important to you, and where you really want to be going (personally and professionally). You know, the Big Life Questions that you must answer for yourself, as honestly as possible.
Let's just say, you will miss the match.
This decision making process, although difficult, is something I'm glad that we went through. It reaffirmed our priorities and refined our plans for the next several years. I also met some wonderful people.
For a representation of the experience, I'll just share this photo of a hemlock maze from a sculpture garden in Windsor, VT, aptly named the Path of Life. The maze represents the beginning of childhood and exploration.