I have done little wandering in my life. The majority of my life has been a straight path, one foot in front of the other, to a predetermined destination.
I've done little wandering. But I've spent a great deal of time feeling lost.
I used to feel so swept up by my life. That somewhere, long ago, I made a turn, a decision, chose a path. And everything else has just been the next step, the next logical decision. The steps felt so close together that I never got a good chance to look at them. Once I got on the path, for a time, everything stopped feeling like a choice.
During medical school, I kept thinking that I ended up there because it was the logical thing to do after college. Residency loomed ahead, like the next logical thing after medical school. My life felt like dominoes, falling one by one. Inevitable. And out of my control.
I felt like Frodo. Frodo made the decision to take the ring. But was anything after that really a choice?
There had been so little wandering.
I went straight from high school to college. Straight from college to medical school. The straight path, while not easy and exhausting most of the time, was still easier than veering from it. Deciding between the unhappiness looming in front of me or the fear of the unknown off the path was nearly impossible.
I felt afraid to be happy.
I ended up going to residency.
Which I guess means that there has still been little wandering.
But this is different. The crushing unhappiness I foresaw in front of me is gone, as if I came through a fog.
I could have not gone to residency. No one made me (besides the $200,000 worth of student debt. But other than that, no one made me.) I could have graduated medical school, and then done something different...stayed at home, graduate school, teaching. We talked about all those options.
And maybe that's why this is so different. It was actually a choice.
So there may still not be a lot of wandering. But I am also no longer lost.