Apparently We’re Planners?!
My family was sitting around the dinner table over the holidays and my dad was jokingly labeling his adult kids…Alex & Jer are “talkers,” Christy’s an “idealist,” and Travis and I are “planners.” Our reaction was one of surprise. Taken aback, we responded “WE’RE planners??” Everyone turned and stared in wonder at our apparent lack of self-awareness. I’d always thought we were “spontaneous.” [cue laughter].
Fast forward to my January interviews…I think I was told, at every single place, some variation of “damn, you are a planner.” A lot of interviewers would ask questions about how I plan on pursuing derm and getting through residency with young kids, or what it will mean for my husband if I match, etc., and for every question like that, I had a very thought out and thorough answer. So apparently we’re planners. But I like to think we’re the type of planners who can roll with the punches when things don’t go as planned. At least, I hope we are. Because the outcome of the derm Match is NOT something I can plan, and there are about a zillion scenarios that could play out the week of March 15th (if I match, Match Day is March 18th). Everything from Colorado to New York. There are scenarios that involve 2 moves within a 1 year period, scenarios that involve a move somewhere for a year and then a return to Colorado, or staying in Colorado for 1 more year and then a big move somewhere else (RI, WI, KS, PA, DC, NY), scenarios in which we’d move this June and settle someplace like Wisconsin, Kansas, DC or rural Pennsylvania for our entire training (4-5 years). The possibilities are endless.
I have a sense of peace about the outcome, as long as I match (which is certainly NOT a guarantee). The reason is because I have direction. I guess I’m a planner, but what I really need to feel is the security of knowing I’m on a path, towards a definable goal. Probably the hardest time in my life was when I veered off the path and didn’t know what direction I wanted to go. It was when I became a mom. I wanted to be the best mom I could be to my kids, and to me that meant putting my career plans on hold until I figured out the rest. I had learned, very late in medical school (like all the way at the end), that I wanted to be a dermatologist. That specialty wasn’t realistic at the time, so I came to a crossroads – I had to decide if I wanted to settle for a field that wasn’t what I wanted, or take a leap. But in the meantime, my Littles needed me to just be home and focus on them. And I, too, needed to be with my Littles and just accept an uncertain career path.
I doubted myself for awhile and it took me a long time to muster the courage to go for it (derm). I’m risking failure, which isn’t comfortable for anyone, much less someone who likes a definable path. When I think back on my decision to pull back the reigns, take time to be home with my babies, and grow the guts to change my career path, I know I was where I was “supposed to be” at that point in my life. I followed my gut and wouldn’t be where I am now, with a shot at a field that was totally beyond my reach back then, if I hadn’t veered from my initial path.
Anyway, Travis and I have until February 24th to finalize my rank list. I added a countdown until Match Day on my left sidebar, in case you’re interested in following. I will feel a burden lifted as soon as we hit “certify” & submit, because at least then it’ll be out of our hands. Plus, there is something unique that each of my options has to offer from the others- something at every place I would be very excited about. Travis and I have gotten into a nightly routine of putting the kids to bed, making ourselves a few drinks, and sitting down to debate the rank order. Some nights are really fun, and other nights are a tad stressful. For the most part, we are at peace with where things fall, and the first few positions on our rank list are pretty obvious to us. But every now and then one of us comes up with a reason to stir up the order and then we are back to the drawing board. It’s nuts, but oddly thrilling at the same time. We’re really trying to enjoy the present, especially because there’s a strong likelihood these will be our last few months in Colorado, but we’re also anxiously awaiting Match Week. Oh, and Match Day is the day after Travis’ birthday, so hopefully this year we’ll be in a more celebratory mode than last year!
Well, Travis just poured me a drink, so I know what time it is! In the words of my youngest trouble maker, “peace out baby.”