“The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns.” ― Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith
I spent a better part of my first year in medical school wondering if I ended up in the right country, in the right city and in the right school because of how unsettled I felt. Throughout my education, I’ve always managed to be an oddball regardless of how hard I try to blend in, for better or for worse. However, the degree to which I felt out of place in this new setting was overwhelming, to say the least.
At first there was a lot of fidgeting riding on the hopes of serendipitously finding my niche but I had no such luck. Sometimes, I would come close but then it would suddenly slip out of reach and I would have to begin finding my place all over again. Exhaustion from the constant fidgeting eventually caught up with me and so I stopped trying so hard but my mind didn’t; it was still very much fixated on how alien I felt.
Fast forward to about two weeks to the end of the year where I was still unsure of my place here and was just generally dissatisfied. I called up an old friend for a quick chat and somewhere in our unrelated conversation, she paused to tell me that I was right where I supposed to be. Talk about a word in due season! I was/am right where I meant to be, no questions asked. In that moment, everything else (the dissatisfaction, the wondering, the uncertainty) faded away and my very tippy world was steadied.
A few days later, I began to wonder about the genesis of my dissatisfaction and why I had begun questioning my location in the first place. I came to realize that all along I had measured the “rightness” of my being here by yardsticks (how I got here, the roots I had established, how much I loved the city, etcetera) that weren’t particularly applicable to me. I have never used them to question my past locations so letting these things become defining factors did not only not edify me, it also fueled a cycle of constant doubt. Of course, these things are important but they are simply not the defining factors that I made them out to be.
I am human, and yes, I am still somewhat bothered that my connections are so few that just a little breeze might blow me away, and that I am not head over heels in love with this city. But that’s okay. New shoes can feel uncomfortable at first but it doesn’t mean they are not right for you. My point is: discomfort is part of being alive; sometimes we finagle our way out it, sometimes we sit in it and get comfy as best we can. What we can’t allow is to let it upend our lives to the point that we lose sight of the things that are most important to us.
Off the soapbox and back to my story. Upon dismantling the thought that I had somehow ended up in the wrong place, I promised myself that I would be more intentional about ‘living’ in my second year (because all of first year was gone lol); I determined to live in a manner that allows me to thrive rather than merely survive. I immediately refused to lose sleep over how ungrounded I felt and chose to rest in the knowledge that I am in fact in the right place. I hope I finally find my niche but for as long as the discomfort of not finding it lasts, I won’t lose my smile; I’ll keep sopping up medical knowledge, and while I am it, I will hold on to all the things that are dear to my heart.
Cheers to thriving, faith for a more comfortable tomorrow, hope without feathers and love in all seasons.
PS. As you might have noticed, one of the things I let go of was blogging, hence the date of my last post being December 27, 2016 (despicable!). I also somewhat forwent coloring which is something I picked up in 2015. I began coloring the cover picture for this post in July 2016 and only worked on it twice during the entire school year (can you imagine?). I just completed it two days ago and I’m so exciting about finishing that I’m thinking of framing it (talk about being a dramatic). Point is I hope to reduce these, and similar “gaps” in the coming year so you’ll be hearing from me more frequently than twice a year!