Over the past 9 days, I have been journaling with a legit pen and paper. I never do that. The last 5-10 years, I have blogged in various forms stemming initially with my adventures to Australia, to foodblogging in DC, to just documenting my cooking adventures, but never just solely putting a pen to paper and just writing down whatever comes to mind.
I decided to put a pen to paper in hopes of being reflective with my 30th birthday looming. I thought what better time to reflect on the past and make vague vision board type goals for the future then the week preceding my entrance into a new decade of life. To be honest, I am not one that typically gets excited for a birthday, I actually am usually quite the opposite. I have significant recollection of getting ready to turn 25 five years ago and claiming that I was going through a quarter life crisis (I may have been a bit dramatic but it was my reality!). I had a fear or getting older with what I perceived to be minimal amount to show for it when comparing myself to my friends. Nevertheless, I guess it is true what they say and that time heals all wounds or something because I found myself oddly excited, well maybe not that excited but at least anxious to meet 30 with arms wide open and throw up some deuces to my twenties.
In the past 8 days I have reflected on relationships, personal growth (or lack thereof), goals for the future, things I am most proud of, things I am the least proud of and some other "deep" and introspective things, but I continually kept being mentally brought back to the fact that the last 5 years has literally been my own variation of a Charles Dickens novel. Or something. It all started from a conversation I had with one of my sisters (my best friends are family so...) just reflecting on the last 5 years and it was not until I really started putting it into words everything that has transpired that I realized that this was probably the most significant portion of time in my life. Let's recap.
2012-Early 2015: The stagnant years
Relationship: These years span the first and last significant romantic relationship I have had in my life up until this point. I did not date in high school, college, after college until I met my ex online and we started dating. We were together for just under 3.5 years and for the majority of it, it was good. We were solid. But we were different. We weren't ultimately meant for each other and I am grateful. So despite the extended dating which culminated in an engagement followed by a broken engagement so ended our relationship. Of any form. Lessons were definitely learned. Although I still wish certain things would have transpired differently (like not getting engaged), the experience was necessary. The growth was necessary. The clarity gained was necessary.
Work: I worked three jobs at one point in 2013. It was crazy. But eventually the job that I truly cared about ended up hiring me full time and that made the stagnant years worth while. I had an amazing job, with amazing bosses and co-workers and despite the occasional reluctancy and backtracking I mentally did when contemplating whether or not I wanted to go medical school, it was that same job that reassured me that being a doctor was going to be the only way that I would be ultimately fulfilled in my career. I can easily attest to the fact that my job was easily a God given light in a pretty dark time in my life.
The Brokenness: It has only been in the past year or so that I started writing transparently about my journey to medical school and all that I have gone through to get to this point that I realized how stagnant I was from 2012-Early 2015. I honestly and truly thought that I was moving forward, that I was moving on, that I was doing good but I can now reflectively look back and say that it was largely a farce. I had a false sense of productivity. I was broken and I don't even think I could have recognized it. Loss affects people in different ways and I think for me, I was living in a false reality. I thought I was "moving on" but really I was in one of those endless indoor swimming pools where you are working so hard to get somewhere but you are actually just tiring yourself out and going nowhere. When my Dad passed away unexpectedly in the end of 2012, it broke me. It literally shattered every sense of reality and identity I knew to exist. There was no world that made sense without him in it and if I am being honest, there is still not a world that makes complete sense without Him. He was everything to me. In my opinion, we had the penultimate father-daughter relationship. He was the person I talked to everyday, multiple times a day about everything in my life. He was that person whose personality, charisma, character and spirit was so big that pretty much most who knew Him, loved Him and were touched by Him. I was never going to be the person who grieved by shutting down completely and closing themselves off to the world. I am too much like my Dad to become that sort of a person. But my grief, my brokenness came in the form of stagnancy. I had gone through the most difficult "adjustment" in my life and I was not aware of it at the time but I was complacent. I was comfortable. My relationship was solid. My job was great. I knew that I still had the Doctor goal ahead of me, but I was not ready to move on. I was not ready to put myself in another state of entropy. I was not ready to put myself at risk of losing anything else to me that mattered.
2015-2017: The Comeback.
Relationships: Single. Sometimes happily. Sometimes not so happily. I had always said that I wanted to finish medical school before I got married and apparently God has really taken that into major consideration because now we are definitely on track for that. And by on track, I mean overdue. Nevertheless, I know that I needed to be single for a period of time based on 1) Had just gotten out a relationship 2) Focus on Medical School 3) I never truly dated before. Although my ovaries are yelling at me on a continual basis as I am surrounded by a significant majority of my friends that are married/almost married/on their 1st, 2nd or 3rd child, I have also been somewhat reassured that God does everything in his perfect timing and in his perfect will. So yeah, Ima wait on God because that list I gave Him is super long and I'm not trying to negotiate many things on it. ;-)
Work/School: Started Medical school. In my 3rd year. It has literally been everything I had ever hoped, dreamed and wanted it to be. God has opened door after door after door and I have never found so much peace knowing that I am directly in His will for my life.
The Healing: I won't credit everything to medical school because that is not even close to being true. God made everything happen. However, I will say that because of medical school, my relationship with God is stronger than its ever been, I am more self-confident and self-assured then I have ever been, and I am easily more trusting of God and fearless than I have ever been. That's not to say that I definitely still don't have a significant way to go with many of things because I definitely do (I still second guess myself often), but the last two years have been easily the two best of my life. There is still a part of me that will always be broken, and I am fully aware and okay with that because there is part of this that was always supposed to be shared with my Dad. And although people try to tell me that "He is with me and Looking down on me" and all that stuff to make them just feel good about trying to make me feel good, is honestly just crap. It is not the same. It will never be the same. And that does not mean that I will fail to be happy, appreciative and grateful, it just means that everything that I am experiencing would be significantly better if he were physically present to experience it with me.
The stagnation led to the self exploration which began the realization of all my hopes, goals and dreams. The toughest three years of my life made way for two of the most amazing years of my life, and I won't necessarily say that I am extremely grateful for the process, but I do acknowledge that it was necessary. I had to go from a place of complete brokenness in order to be properly rebuilt for this current journey. I had to go through a period of disillusionment in order to understand and recognize the reality to which I truly deserved. The process was necessary. The transformation was necessary. The growth was necessary.
It was the worst of times, It was the best of times and now, it is my time.