According to my job, I often make big decisions. Never without team input, always with a little uncertainty, but nevertheless seemingly in many ways, big decisions. The farther I slide away from my medical training (although this may have a surprising recapitulation in the near future, in one way or another), I become more comfortable with the grey zone of medicine. Not everything is black and white, not everything is yes or no, most every time is a little conflicting and I wish so much I could explain to every patient, friend, and onlooker the ambiguity. But, for the most part, as I get older, my big decisions become more confident, stronger and concrete.
Yet, when it comes to making the small decisions and picking the things that matter a little bit less, in the grand scheme of life I suppose, sometimes I can’t make my mind up to save my life. The gears are always churning and I constantly ask “What If?” Then again, who doesn’t. And then, one day I overheard a stranger say to someone else, “Like my mom always says, ‘Indecisiveness means you’re thinking about the world.'”
Let’s be honest, a large reason that I went into working exclusively locum tenens as a new graduate was that I frankly didn’t quite know what to do with myself. I recently listened to a panel on fellowship interviews, out of curiosity of course, and remembered a program director saying, “You need to have a 5 or 10 year plan. I don’t need the details. I don’t expect, ‘I’ll work 20% academic, 80% clinical.’ But you gotta have something.” And, I thought to myself, what is MY 5 or 10 year plan? Frankly, life has always been ambiguous. I spent so much time trying to become a doctor that that became the end point – Once I got there, I realized that I needed a new end point. I loved all things in Residency training, and it made it hard to figure out exactly what I wanted to do afterwards. I’ve lived in some fantastic places and abhorrent places all over the country, and am not sure where I want to go, or more so, “plant some roots.” And the kicker: The more I’ve learned and the more I’ve seen, the more confused and lost I am.
I’ve kept up this traveling wandering lifestyle for so long, as many ‘Millennials’ seem to do similar things looking for something, but I’m not sure what that even means. I find that from day to day, my decisions for small things become more complex. I have more to consider. The opportunities and the box that I live in expand infinitesimally to endless possibilities. I’m no longer certain if I think outside the box or if i’ve moved beyond a proverbial box at all. A box is easy to choose from, there’s a limited amount of space; but, once you open the box, and you get rid of worldly inhibitions and thoughts, you become limitless.
Obviously there are a lot of bad connotations to people that are indecisive and I can see why. Ultimately I have strong opinions about things; but, often times I find barriers to understanding what i truly want and listening to myself. With every small or large thought I ever consider and every decision that I’m faced with, a composite picture of myself and all of my experiences get factored in, as it does for anyone. With each day, however, I have another aspect or perspective of the world that goes into these thoughts, and sends me spiraling down another lost cosmos. It’s a good problem to have, being worldly and open-minded to new thoughts and curious propositions; but, sometimes I do wish I was picky, it would probably be easier to figure out what’s for dinner.