I remember it clearly. I was twelve years old and one day, without any precipitating events, I looked at the world as if with new eyes. I felt as if I had been living in a bubble, and suddenly the world was big and I wasn’t a child. Or I was, but I didn’t want to be.
It was my first experience with “growing up” and I can only postulate that as it was roundabout the time that I hit puberty, my frontal cortex was busy myelinating like crazy. I of course believed that my brain was fully developed and that old people who claimed it was still developing were, well, old – but what would a twelve year old know, right?
It wasn’t so rapid this time but I think I may be having a similar experience now. I have been trying to put it into words but having largely neglected any kind of writing besides the odd blog post, that hasn’t gone so well. It started with a feelings of disconnect and then intense reconnection; and a lot of confusion about my role in society as a doctor, a daughter, a sister, a partner, a citizen.
I have become more aware of the way I carry myself and the way I may be perceived (after the acute self-consciousness of adolescence I didn’t think it was possible to become MORE aware); and I have been challenging the way I experience myself outwardly and inwardly.
In short, I think I’m having a bit of an identity crisis.
And why shouldn’t I?
Internship seems to prime us for it. Swapping rotations every few months, everyone trying to put their foot – or finger or nose – into our young adult lives; yet with few physicians putting themselves in a position to act in a mentoring capacity rather than an “I am your boss” capacity.
Who am I, in relation to my patients, my family, my peers, my colleagues? Who will I become? What will I become? Will I find a community of physicians with similar views? Am I satisfied with the direction my life is taking and if not, what will I do to change that? As an intern, is there anything I can do to effect change, be it in my day-to-day life or my long-term future?
What kind of adult do I want to be – and do I really have a say in it?
I find myself in intense introspection most of my free time. I can’t necessarily write it all, but every once in a while I come up with a coherent thought.
My latest: am I the only one of my colleagues that feels this change? Ohmygod: AM I BROKEN?!