Sunday, April 22, 2007

in 3 years, what have i learned?

it is 12:06am on the day i begin clinics, my fourth and final year of veterinary medicine. hopefully, the end of my formal education (though i hope to continue learning until i die). i've spent the day more or less productively. last minute shopping at wal-mart, getting those small things that i keep forgetting i need until i need them, puttering around and cleaning the house, laundry, vacuuming furniture, collecting fur and featherballs and the like. reading a bit (cormac mccarthy's book, the road) and napping. i spent the latter part of this evening reviewing ophtho notes, hoping to be as prepared as possible for tomorrow and the start of my year as a fake doctor (preceding, i think, many years as a real doctor). all day, thoughts have been percolating in the back of my head - thoughts on what i've learned in the past 3 years (besides a heckuva lot of veterinary medicine).

what i've learned is that the most important things in life are not things at all. they are people. more specifically, the people that i grew up with- that raised me. i mean my family, of course - but also my husband. we started dating when i was 17. we've now begin together for 10 years of my life. since i'm not yet 30, that amounts to greater than a third of my life. where and who would i be without his formative influence? we truly grew up together.

i have him, my husband and best friend. i have my family too - always supportive if sometimes in oblique ways, always with me.

i learned in the past 3 years that what people think and say about you carries very little true importance. at the time, it may hurt, it may worry you, but all of those feelings and hurts fade with time. even the feelings that were wonderful are fleeting. everything fades into the grey of the past. as a result, we must hold on very tightly to those things that are true, to those people that are true. the rest should and will fall by the wayside.

it took me a long time to come to the acceptance of the inherent nature of people, especially groups of people. i still struggle with it now. but, in the last few weeks, it has become abundantly clear to me that worrying about what other people think, what other people do is unimportant. we get so bogged down, everyday, in the mundanity of the world, in the pettiness of unhappy people. and that leads to our inevitable unhappiness. it is only by separating ourselves from those unhappinesses that we can begin to become happy ourselves. it sounds touchy feely and new age-y, i realize. but it's so true. surround yourself with unhappiness and misery, and you will find yourself wallowing in it. surround yourself with love and happiness, and your life will follow accordingly.

i can't believe i'm a fourth year vet student. everyone said it would come quickly, and i knew it would. i know that time passes like a sigh. and i know that this year will pass too quickly, as all years do.

i'm not even nervous or frightened. i'm ready. i'm smart, i've worked hard, and i love that i'm going to be a veterinarian. i have my family, my husband, my best friend, the love of more people than i know what to do with or deserve, and i'm on the path to my future. why shouldn't i be happy?

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