Today will be my first day of medical school, and I’ve tried to downplay how big a deal it is to me, but the truth is that my life is about to change forever. This is not just more school for me; this is my dream being realized. This is my greatest passion being pursued. This is the first day of the rest of my life. And mentally I am prepared, but only because I spent all of yesterday doing nothing.
Actually, that is a lie. I spent all of yesterday emotional while watching episodes of Grey’s Anatomy on DVD. I know it’s a tv show, but I’ve always been extremely empathetic (some may say overly so), even for characters on a tv drama (or even comedy), and I related to them even more than usual because in a very short time, I will have to make those same decisions that affect life and death, that challenge values and morals. (All my Scrubs, House, and Grey’s Anatomy wisdom will finally come in handy!)
Watching Grey’s was my way of preparing emotionally for a very real future. A future that up until today, was still the future. And the only way I could confront this impending reality was to do nothing except watch dramas on tv.
And then I realized what I was doing: I was having a “Me Day”.
One of my most cherished mentors told me that she often schedules “Me Days” in her calendar so that she could do nothing but sit in front of the beach all day with a book or two, allowing absolutely no interruptions. Her life is so busy that she needs to put these days in or she would never make time for herself.
Not everyone schedules “Me Days”, but I think we all need them to stay energized. Looking back on the most stressful times in my life, I remember a lot of days when I felt like I accomplished nothing except watching an entire television season (or several) in one day. I would get so upset with myself for “wasting” the day(s), but now, I think that they were vital for my mental well-being. Some people go to the beach. I stay at home alone practicing for the tv show marathon Olympics. (I think I do this as an emotional workout and to put my own life in perspective, but that’s beside the point…)
Everyone’s definition of a “Me Day” is individualized, and my point is that what you do to recharge doesn’t matter, as long as you take the time to do it. If you’re the type of person whose calendar fills up a week in advance, maybe it’s time to physically schedule in some “Me Time”.
Think back – when was the last time you took a “Me Day”?
While you take some time to ponder that, I will be diving headfirst into Frosh week and coming out a new June. I will be meeting and bonding with the people who I will party with, study with, complain with, and who I will need in order to survive my many years to come: the future that has suddenly become the present.
I absolutely cannot wait.
See you on the other side!