Monday, April 11, 2016

Objections (and New Sidebar Gadget)

"You live at a breakneck pace. It stresses me out."

"How can you be a good consecrated virgin with all this work?"

"How can you be a good doctor when you're doing these side projects?"

The first objection comes most often from my body. Ulcerative colitis and residency don't play together well. A UC colon loves a predictable schedule, well-cooked and wholesome food eaten slowly. Those things are basically impossible in OB/GYN residency, where I'm eating quickly between triage patients and deliveries and trying not to have an episode of diarrhea during a C-section.

The second and third objections come from my conscience. I work a lot, and not by choice. I worked 2430 hours in the 244 days between July 1 and February 29. That's 11.6 hours for six days a week, with a seventh day off (and includes the days I was not at work while on vacation). I'd like for things to calm down so that I can focus more time on my relationship with Christ. I could work to the bone my entire life and never get to know the man who saved me and stooped to make me his little consecrated virgin. That would be a horrible tragedy.

I am also pursuing several projects on the side, including a video (done with shooting by the time this comes out!), a set of brochures (should be done with this one completely by the time this post hits), home improvement, blogging for two sites (including this one), keeping up the scholastic life (which includes writing and submitting essays to various journals), research (don't remind me about the phone calls I have to make for my research right now...), and attempting to network with others fighting for the culture of life (which involves archdiocesan events, meeting people for dinner and coffee, and emails). How can I take care of patients when I am so tired and have to finish all these notes so quickly? How can I study and be a good learner when I'm trying to get four doctors with crazy schedules to Chicago to shoot a video?

I just thought this picture was funny.
My response to these? Part of me argues that I'm in a rare time in my life when I can spring back from fatigue after working these hours, and I can spend this much energy on things. But the other part of me completely concedes that the objections are true and I'm doing it all wrong. 

It's unrealistic to respond by promising I'll never go to another pro-life or pro-family event, or that I'll never write another paper. I need to establish a new balance of work, leisure, and prayer.

Part of being less overwhelmed is beginning to assume that the duties of adult life (taxes, car maintenance, housecleaning) are not a project and are just like brushing teeth: no big deal, just gotta do it.

The other part is limiting my projects. I used to limit myself to five active projects in medical school. This may sound like a lot, but I remember when I said "no" to eleven awesome-sounding opportunities in one week. It was a good lesson: not everything that sounds awesome is really important to a career (much less to a life). I'd like to introduce you to a new side-bar gadget: the Project Kitchen. I'm not allowed more than two active projects, with up to four on the back burners.