I’m sitting in a hospital in Australia, where I’m doing a surgery rotation, now in my third year of medicine, and am reflecting on how I got here. It wasn’t so long ago that I lived in Toronto, Canada, in another job, in another life. Since I published a list of life lessons I’d accumulated by my 33rd birthday. Since I decided I needed a change.
I wasn’t unhappy. In fact, quite the opposite- mostly, I was very happy. But something was missing. I was working a wonderful, meaningful job, that had lost some of its meaning for me. I had terrific friends, and fulfilling hobbies, but somehow I knew I needed something different. I was restless. I was lonely. I was perhaps a little lost.
I spent a long time thinking about what was making me restless, what I needed to change. I didn’t originally plan to change everything- leave my high-level executive job, give up my apartment in Toronto, give away almost everything I owned, buy a one-way ticket across the world, resettle myself and the cats in Brisbane, Australia, and go back to school at almost 34 years old to study medicine. I thought about whether I wanted to continue in my current field in another position, if I wanted to move cities and to where, and ruminated on lots of possibilities, but in the end, this was right. I needed something drastic. I wanted a new book, let alone a new chapter.
And now here I am, starting my third year living and studying medicine in Australia. Mostly, it’s been amazing. I live with my partner J, also in medicine, and the cats. The first two years of school were tough- without a science background or any relevant experience, I had to work incredibly hard to understand and keep afloat in the firehose of information that is studying medicine. Thus far, I’ve managed, and I’m excited to be in my third year starting rotations in the hospital. What a journey to get here.
My first year, I was so overwhelmed with the amount of material and study that I had little time for anything else. There were no hobbies, no gym, not much in the way of social interaction, although I did spend time with J and manage the odd outing. Second year, we moved to our own place, and the atmosphere was more conducive to being able to manage studying and a routine. I built work-outs back in. I managed to cook the odd meal. This year, again, the schedule is busy, but I love the structure and the learning. I’m excited to be here. I’m unbelievably grateful to be here.
We live the lives we design. We all have choices, although not the same choices. If you’re not happy with something in life, take steps to change it. It may seem insurmountable, but everyone who ever made a big change had to take that first step at some point.