The nature of life or human consciousness at any rate seems to be small circular loops that take three steps forward, two steps back, overall always moving forward, but spending a good deal of time regressing just a bit before consolidating the latest progress and moving forward again. Sometimes I get impatient with those two steps back, though that's as ridiculous as being upset that the sky is blue instead of green. It makes no sense at all to argue with reality.
I am making the transition from professional graduate school to my own private practice, and while this is terribly exciting and full of enormous promise, it is also a little sad. Good friends are moving away, going back to where they came from before they started school three years and nine long semesters ago. (We did three full semesters each year, with only two weeks off between semesters, so . . . WHEW!)
Also, I had to study for my national board exams, which became more than tiresome, utterly loathesome to be honest, which has left me emptied of all resources. But now, after two weeks spent watching classic films on Netflix on my very comfortable chaise longue and reading great literature on my Kindle for iPhone app, I am finally scratching the surface of recovery. I am stronger, more clear-headed, and taking the time to enjoy long walks with my scruffy, deeply adorable and very large dog, Cupcake, in the sunny but cool spring breezes in the cobbled and shady streets of the far West Greenwich Village.
All this delight, and yet I find myself feeling uncomfortable at times. What, am I cowed by having to develop marketing for my practice? By having to decorate and furnish my new office? No, I think the burden felt each morning has entirely to do with having less-than-zero money, having taken out student loans to pay tuition for professional school and not yet making money in my private practice. I won't even have my license for another several weeks because of bureaucratic languor. Sigh.
But the situation is entirely my fault for having chosen the life of an artist for the past three decades. I would make the same choice all over again, though I probably would have done professional school when I was young enough for school to be as easy as falling off a log. Miraculously, I ended up with a solid A average, but this time around I didn't enjoy the process of learning the way I did when I was an undergrad studying the Humanities at Stanford. I sigh once more.
The answer here is simple, however: focus on the positive, on the prospect of practicing this exquisitely beautiful medical art that is so effective on every level of human experience. I can use my well-honed self-discipline to focus on the ideas and projects that have grown out of my deep love for this medicine, any one of which would be professionally fulfilling and financially rewarding. Perhaps I am a little boggled by the sheer breadth of possibilities, for they do seem nearly endless. This time the sigh is more like an Ahhhhhhh, an exhale of wonder and delight.