As my first year as an adult (sort-of maybe I guess?) draws to an end, I find myself reflecting a lot on what has happened. Incoming interns ask for advice and I wanted to write a really cool and inspirational post but I find myself not knowing what to say. Almost as if I haven’t learned enough to offer advice.
I wanted to answer these questions again, but I haven’t been able to finish them because they make me feel like a massive failure.
True, this year I learned a lot of things. I did C-sections. I amputated limbs. My suturing looks a smidge better these days. I can see patients fast but thoroughly in clinics and I can prescribe things without looking them up in the formulary. Well, some things.
But did I learn a new language? Did I study extra hard to make an impression on my supervisors, to make up for my average med school marks? Did I grab every opportunity to do something fun I might not get the chance to do again?
What disappoints me more is noticing how I have neglected myself and by extension also my family.
I have tried to put an effort into running, but I’ve not done enough cross-training to prevent injury or just to improve my overall body conditioning. I’ve read a lot, but the journaling I started so earnestly earlier this year has fallen by the wayside.
I haven’t really improved my cooking skills. Or made mindfulness a habit. Or flossed regularly (although I researched it and apparently flossing is not really evidence-based, anyway).
I was a founding member of a research society at our hospital, and I even found an exceedingly rare case to write up, but I have been too busy to make any further work thereof.
I have done a lot to ensure that I get adequate sleep, and although it hasn’t been as much as I would have liked, it has certainly been enough to keep me healthy. But in exchange, I’ve missed out on a lot of family time.
When I reflect on the year, I see a whole lot of work, and a lot of running and reading. And some internetting. And only a little of everything else.
I am not sure that I’m satisfied with that. It doesn’t feel like a well-rounded lifestyle at all.
Where do other, more senior doctors find the time from? I feel like my time-management skills have regressed massively. I am certain I used to be able to fit so much more into my day.
Like many others, I keep advising people that “self-care is important”. But this year has shown me that adulting is so much harder than it seems, and one of the components that suffer the most, is the self.