"You should be compensated well when you're a doctor, considering you have to give up your twenties to become one."
I've heard the above statement more than a few times since starting medical school. And I rebuke it.
It's very true that because of the intense academic undertaking involved with becoming a physician I spend a lot of time in lecture, labs, and, of course, studying. In residency, I will be working 80+ hours per week and working on some form of call schedule for years after that. Yet I refuse to believe that I am somehow conceding an entire decade of my life to the pursuit of the medical profession.
Here's my rationale (in somewhat rambling fashion):
Going to medical school or working a full time job doesn't decrease the number of hours in the day does it? Everyday still has the requisite 24 hours in it. That's the same now as it was when I was in undergraduate, or working in Dallas, and I have a pretty good feeling that's how things will stay in the future. Therefore, it is my responsibility to use the 24 hours I'm given each day to the best of my abilities. Matt Chandler, the pastor at the Village Church, marveled in one of his sermons about how we love to tell everyone how busy we are. It's so true. Watch, the next time you ask a friend you haven't seen in a while how things are going they will undoubtedly tell you how busy they are within the first three sentences of their reply.
But what are we filling up our days (and therefore our lives) with that is making us so busy? Historically for me it has usually been the wasted time that clogs up my weeks and prevents me from being the husband, student, friend, etc. that I have the potential to be. Hours I spent watching TV, farting around on the computer, or recovering from a particularly rowdy evening, could have been hours spent growing in a community or as an individual in any number of ways including, but not limited to spritually, academically, and physically.
I'm not saying that TV, the internet, and drinking are evil by any means. In fact, I've done all three of those activities with good friends as a form of communal bonding. However, it's a heart change that is required to keep those things from becoming life consuming, detrimental, and destructive behaviors and put them in there proper moderate contexts.
Motivating myself to break the chains of apathy and seize each day as a brand new, 24 hour gift gives me the freedom to achieve my potential. I think that my best is what my God, my wife, my friends, my family, and I deserve from me. It takes a daily rededication, and there will always be peaks and valleys, but when I'm able to do this, I don't see how I am letting a single second slip by, let alone a whole decade.
Now enough blogging...My bride is about to get off work!