Can't Beat that New Year Smell

Sunday, January 3, 2016


I'm sure that I'm not the first to say it, but THANK GOD 2015 has ended. What a crappy, crappy, year for the most part. Back in February, which feels like it might as well have been 17 years ago, I wrote a letter to 2015 asking it to kindly stop sucking. It mostly ignored me, and it did bring me some weird spring-like weather, but it occurred over Christmas, and I'm pretty sure it still means the planet is ruined. So, there's that.

I found these questions on the Into Mind blog, and even though they were for 2014, I'm going to use them for 2015. Here we go.

1. What one event, big or small, are you going to tell your grandchildren about?
There were so many things that happened this year, but I think the best thing that happened was that
on June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court finally legalized gay marriage. Or, you know, marriage. So many people I love and care about are now able to marry the ones they love. As it should be.

2. If you had to describe your 2015 in 3 words, what would they be?
Oh, there are so many options:

- What the hell?
- Too fucking hard
- Will it end?
- Oh, dear God
- So much therapy
- Make it stop

3. What new things did you discover about yourself?Hm. I am pretty damn resilient, which isn't a term I would have used to describe myself before this. Also, I apparently like hummus. Who knew?

4.
What single achievement are you most proud of?
That's easy. Finishing my first year of medical school without dying, committing a felony, or committing myself to a  hospital.

5. What was the best news you received?
That I had passed my neuroscience exam and therefore, passed the course for the year and didn't have to repeat first year. Also, finding out that one of my best friends, Julie, got engaged and then asked me to her Matron of Honor was pretty great, too.

6. What was your favorite place that you visited in 2015?
This is going to sound weird, but it's a tie between Punta Cana and... the midwest? The trip I took to see Sarah, Emily, and Marcie was AMAZING and so much fun, and I would take that trip over and over again if I could. Yes, even though it meant I was going to Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. Obviously, Punta Cana was beautiful and luxurious, and there have been many times that I've wished I were back there, poolside with a drink in my hand, just spending time with Ken. 

7. Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year?
Apparently, my ability to get back up and keep going, which I didn't know existed.

8. Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on?
Ken. There are others who were also excellent, however.

9. Which new skills did you learn?I... um. I learned how to do most of a complete physical exam? I can't exactly tell you what's wrong with you, but I can totally examine you and look like I know what I'm doing.

10. What, or who, are you most thankful for?
Health insurance. And my therapist.

11. If someone wrote a book about your life in 2015, what genre would it be? A comedy, love story, drama, film noir or something else?
A tragicomedy. Because you have to laugh or else you'll cry. Sometimes, you'll do both at once!

12. What was the most important lesson you learned in 2015?
Oh man. I feel like I learned a lot in 2015, but of course now I can't think of anything. I learned that sometimes, talking about things that are scary and painful can help others who are going through the same thing, and that my voice is important.

13. Which mental block(s) did you overcome?
The second half of my first year of med school was really hard. Like, the hardest thing I've ever done, maybe. I had a mental block that I wouldn't be able to do it, and even though I didn't realize that I had gotten over it, I must have, because... I did it.

14. What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with?

Ken, Sarah, Victoria, Levi, Mia

15. What was your biggest break-through moment career-wise?
I guess school is my career now, so really, finishing medical school in June, realizing I had somehow passed everything and not died was a HUGE moment for me.

16. How did your relationship to your family evolve?
Eek. Well, this sounds weird, but I got better at telling them less. I have a really bad habit of involving my family in my life in ways that I end up regretting, so it has been a learning process to put down boundaries in a way that makes me feel like a grown-up without alienating my family.

17. What book or movie affected your life in a profound way?
Hands down, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Dr. Atul Gawande. He is a fantastic author, but the subject matter really made me think about how I want to work as a physician and what I would want for my own end of life care.

18. What was your favorite compliment that you received this year?
Pretty much anyone told me that they read and enjoyed my blog, or that my writing helped them through something they were experiencing. It makes me feel like I'm doing a small part of what I'm meant to do in the world.

19. What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life?
Sleeping in, leisurely coffee, extreme productivity, easy laughter, snuggling with the cats, good podcasts while driving

20. What cool things did you create this year?
Um... I guess working on this blog counts? I created new friendships. That was pretty awesome.

21. What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)
Stressed. Definitely stressed. Tied for a close second was depressed/anxious. 2015 was fucking hard.

22. Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year?
I traveled to Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana by myself to see my girlfriends, which was awesome.

23. What was your favorite moment spent with your friends?
There were a lot of good moments. My 29th birthday was low-key and fun, hanging out with my med school friends was always great, especially if we weren't studying, and the entire time I spent with Sarah, Emily, and Marcie over my spring break was pretty much the best.

24.What major goal did you lay the foundations for?
I feel like everything I do in therapy is laying the foundation for my major life goal of not being a complete disaster, so let's go with that.

25.Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary?
I was worried that medical school might ruin my marriage, but it totally didn't because my husband is amazing (and I'm not so bad, either.)

26.What experience would you love to do all over again?
I would totally redo our Punta Cana vacation. It was so relaxing!

27. What was the best gift you received?
The gift of time. Anytime my friends made time to see me and hang out with me meant the world, especially because my schedule was so nuts. I cannot tell you how much I appreciated being able to maintain my friendships despite med school trying to suck the life out of me.

28. How did your overall outlook on life evolve?
After my miscarriage, I don't want to say that I stopped caring about med school (because I didn't), but it no longer seemed like THE ONLY THING IN THE WORLD. I was much more concerned about my identity as a wife, friend, and mother. Honestly, it made med school less stressful because I wasn't 150% focused on SUCCEEDING academically all the time.

29. What was the biggest problem you solved?
I feel like most of my problems were small, and the big ones were largely unsolvable and just had to be let alone until they figured themselves out. I guess I solved the problem of not knowing how the hell to read EKG's? That was pretty clutch.

30. What was the funniest moment of your year, one that still makes it hard not to burst out laughing when you think about it?
My friends are hilarious, so I can't pick just one. Ken and I definitely had some "you had to be there" hysterical moments, though. I can't even try to explain them because they'll sound dumb. He makes me laugh all the time, though. I'm so thankful for that.

31. What purchase turned out to be the best decision ever?
Plane tickets to see Sarah, Emily, and Marcie. It was expensive, and I was nervous about taking a trip by myself, but it was THE ACTUAL BEST.

32. What one thing would you do differently and why?
I would spend less time worrying about my grades. In the end, I passed everything and that is literally all I needed to do. 7-0 = DO.

33. What do you deserve a pat on the back for?
Not ending up in a psych ward after my miscarriage and subsequent horrific depression

34. What activities made you lose track of time?
Studying. I once sat in once place in a Starbucks for 9 hours. It was a poor life choice. In a more fun arena, the internet is always a good way to lose track of time.

35. What did you think about more than anything else?
Med school, how to not fail med school, exactly how many questions I needed to get right to pass a particular exam, when I could sleep next.

36. What topics did you most enjoy learning about?
Despite my loud complaints, I really did enjoy physiology last year.

37. What new habits did you cultivate?
I flossed every night for an entire year! I also wore make-up on most days, even if it was just powder and mascara.

38.What advice would you give your early-2015 self if you could?
2015 is going to be really awful at times and basically the hardest thing ever, but you're going to make it. Keep going.

39.Did any parts of your self or your life do a complete 180 this year?
Not really. Lots of little changes, though.

40. What or who had the biggest positive impact on your life this year?
Therapy. This will pretty much always be my answer.

41. What do you want the overarching theme for your 2016 to be?
Do the damn thing. Whatever it is.

42. What do you want to see, discover, explore?
I want to see the end of my board exam and then six weeks later, see a score that makes me want to throw a party.

43. Who do you want to spend more time with in 2015?
Victoria, Levi, Ken, Pam, Patricia, Mia, Ashley, Lea, Jill, Mary (The last 5 in a non-school setting!)

44. What skills do you want to learn, improve or master?
I want to learn how to knit a sweater and I want to get back into playing the piano or the viola.

45. Which personal quality do you want to develop or strengthen?
I want to stop doubting myself. I want to truly believe that I am good enough and that I deserve to be happy.

46. What do you want your everyday life to be like?
Well, I would love for my everyday life to be like our vacation in Punta Cana. That is entirely unreasonable though, so I'll settle for interesting without being chaotic, fulfilling without being draining, and productive without being boring.

47. Which habits do you want to change, cultivate or get rid of?
I want to stop picking at my nails and my skin, and I'd like to start exercising on some kind of regular basis, even if that's a walk every day.

48. What do you want to achieve career-wise?
I want to pass my boards and figure out where I want to possibly apply for residency.

49. How do you want to remember the year 2016 when you look back on it 10/20/50 years from now? 
Regardless of how far I am from 2016, I want to remember it as an academically successful year, and a year of growth.

50. What is your number one goal for 2016?
Adapt, change, grow.

And on that note, I hope that you all had a happy, relaxing, and joyous holiday and new year, and that 2016 brings you exactly what you need, and lots of what you want. 


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