Tuesday, April 17, 2012

If


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!
-Rudyard Kipling
OK so Absentbabinski and I were sorting out the universe the other day and I mentioned that this is one of my favorite poems and that I want to memorize it.  I first heard it as a very messed up 15 year old in my English 10 class. I love how over the years it has come to mean different things to me as I grow and face different triumphs and disasters.

It is a good guide for someone working in health care, I think. I've already had many experiences with having to keep my head in the emergency department when all about me people were losing theirs. That is something I've been constantly trying to improve since my first months as a very nervous and inexperienced nurse. In fact, that exact line has sung through my head more than once as I felt my adrenaline coursing at work.
But now, when I think about starting medical school, it feels a little like I heaped all my winnings and lost...and here I am building this part of my life from the beginning. And yes, I probably muse too much on the things I gave up and not enough on all the gifts I've received as a result of this privilege. Though I can say that these past couple weeks it has not felt much like a privilege. 

But as I re-read this poem last night I thought about the lines,
If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
and I felt a little panicky. My dreams have been my master ever since the day I walked into my first organic chemistry class 5 years ago when I started this crazy journey towards medical school. It is drilled into us that we should sacrifice everything for our dreams, reach for the stars, push to the finish...but Mr. Kipling has a different take on the matter. My dreams had to be my master to get here and my current relationship fading has largely been because of the strain placed on it by medical school and the uncertainties of post-graduate training. So maybe it is maladaptive, selfish, even weak to turn everything out at the demands of a single goal. 
I don't know. It's been a really hard month. I am going though a major upheaval and naturally I am thinking about all the choices that have led me here and questioning some decisions that have caused me so much heartache.  

Right now I am just clinging to the Will that says..."Hold on!" 
Yours in constant rumination, 
ABB

3 comments:

Old MD Girl said...

"And my current relationship fading has largely been because of the strain placed on it by medical school and the uncertainties of post-graduate training."

ABB, I know you're going through a hard time. But please remember that the loss of your relationship has as much to do with Tobie's decisions as it does with your own. Please don't blame yourself. Remember that you are WORTH IT.

*virtual hug*

Albinoblackbear said...

Thank you...it's true *enjoys hug*

nurse 8 said...

Sending you love. Stranger love, but not the icky kind. Take care of yourself - you are a strong, independent woman, and though you've hit a stumbling block, you'll get through it!