A few years ago, my friend Rebecca did her first ‘blog party’, and I was honoured when she asked me contribute to it. The theme was ‘Careers Week’ and she got many of her blogging friends to share about their chosen careers and how they got into them.
10 11 years ago, my friend sent me a yearbook questionnaire, and one of the questions was ‘Where do you see yourself in 10 years?’. My answer was ‘Probably in a school teaching geography wondering why I didn’t become a lawyer‘. When I wrote that response, I was in my first semester studying for an M.A. in Human Geography, but I thought I wanted was to be a lawyer. I’ll admit it was because I watched those who worked in law and was in awe of their fancy houses, wonderful holidays, the posh balls and charity events. The respect they seemed to get from people. Oh, and I totally had this fantasy of being Ally McBeal or Elle Woods, I think! I looked at how hard they worked and thought it would be worth it.
Let’s cue to a few months later when I studied 3 law courses at university.
I was bored out my head. I was great at the logical stuff like Contract Law, but crap at things like Delict. In fact I never did pass my exam in Delict though I was amused by one of the scenarios in the exam which involved ‘Zippy, Bungle and George’. Clearly a very bored law professor with a sense of humour wrote that one. My friends studying the law would conscientiously study away each week, and I tried, I really did, but I just didn’t care enough.
And I thought – is this really how I want to spend my life – even if at the end I have the resources to have a lot of fun?
I went back to focusing on Geography, and it is a subject I still enjoy and am passionate about. Of course, I found something I had huge amount of interest in and didn’t find it half as hard to make time to study, when I transferred to the College of Medicine. For sure it involved subjects I didn’t enjoy – Health Economics (shudder), statistics (which made me cry) and Sociology (thankfully I had the gift of the waffle) but even within these subjects I found a way to make it interesting as under a fantastic supervisor I began studying women’s health within these remits.
I realised that you could never guarantee you’d even make it to your destination. You never know what is going to happen, and so you’d better make sure you enjoy the journey.
And I did.
These days I’m challenging myself again. Partly with relooking at my bucket list and keeping a check on my attitude. The sacrifices that have come with the job I currently do sometimes feel like they aren’t worth it. There’s no point in giving something of myself if I’m not going to give it cheerfully.
If I die tomorrow, will my friends and family have the comfort of knowing that I had fun and gave everything to the 29 years I’ve been given? I hope so.
And I hope that will remain true no matter how many years I get to use here on earth.