To live fast and die young: a personal post

This is our decision, to live fast and die young. We’ve got the vision. Now let’s have some fun!

This is a very personal post and I am afraid that I’ll regret writing this. But then again, I’ve been afraid my entire life.

I took the phrase in the beginning of this post from the lyrics of MGMT’s song, Time to Pretend. I have been listening to this song for a while now and I love it. Recently, lots of things in life has been pressing on my shoulder. One night (I was stuck at work because I was on night shift), I idling sat in front of my laptop and all these thoughts started flooding out. Right then, I knew I have to write this post or I would suffocate and die.

You all know what I am doing for a living. It is a demanding job and I happen to be a perfectionist. I demand a lot from myself and I have been doing this since my high school years. A few months ago, my mother asked me if I felt sorry that I had no teenage life. At that moment, I realized that I have no teenage life (!!!). I jumped from being a child to being an adult instantly. I spent my high school days studying very hard and being very responsible. I sent myself into med school and I soared above everyone else in my training. Right now, I am still working hard to get through internal medicine training. And guess what, I already have plans in mind about what I am going to do next. After this, I am aiming for Rheumatology subspecialty fellowship. I want to be a big name scholar, a professor maybe. I want my name on international medical publications and have people invite me for some fancy special lecture. I will probably achive that eventually. This is a very realistic yet admirably ambitious dream.

But that night, alone in my room, I was exhausted. I was drained. I had been too busy persuing my goal that I never thought about what I could have done in the past ten years. I never realized about those possibilities, the alternate paths of life. Now I share with you some of the things I wish I had done.

1. have my ears pierced: believe it or not, I used to get my left ear pierced for like…six months when I first entered university. But it didn’t sit well with every one else. Why were they so conservative? I eventually stop that lest my image was tarnished. What a wasted. I wish I could wear many fake-looking, earings.

2. have long hair, really long and messy hair: No one knows that my hair was actually curly because it was very short and neat most of the time. This fact about my hair was revealed to me by my barber who told me that if I let my hair grow, it would be curly. How nice would that be! I want my hair long and flowing when I run. I would let it loose and let it be messy and shaggy. I wish I had that kind of hair so that I would be able to sit around idly and play with it and do nothing else. I might even dye it.

3. dress like hippies or  junkies or rock stars!: I would probably look horrible in rags, fringed pants or jeans, brightly/flowery dyed T-shirt, sandals, sunglasses and bandana but who cares? I would be fun! (from the post title image: I don’t especially love Bleach but it has really cool hippie fashion sense!)

4. smoke pot all day and get drunk all night: Now this is getting dangerous! But I heard it was a potent way to escape from reality. I would love to experience hallucinations sometimes, seeing things that are not there and be irrationally happy. And don’t tell me that these things will kill me. I, of all people, know that. But is living a long life really matter that much?

5. go to crazy music festival and scream mindlessly: This one is very self-explanatory. I never have time or money or opportunity to watch any of my favorite artists or bands play live. Maybe I should have prefer more ‘local’ artists but that’s just not me. Sometimes, I felt like I live in the far side of the world :(

6. learn sword fight: On second thought, maybe this is not such a good idea because I might end up slashing people in halves and then get locked up for life in jail.

7. stop pretending and stop playing nice: This one will be a bit over-dramatic. Do you know that I am very nice to every body I encounter? I am always gentle and humble and rarely argue with anyone. People actually have good impression towards me. But in reality, I feel neutral to about half the people I know and I am genuinely feeling nice to about 1/4 of all people I deal with every day. The other 1/4 is the people I don’t like but still act nice towards them because I either need their approval/favor/appreciation/respect or whatever. That means I pretend to be nice for 75% of the time. While inside, I am no less than a selfish, sarcastic jerk. You wouldn’t believe what rans through my thought sometimes. I am a bit tired of acting, pretending or be afraid for my image all the time. There were times when I wanted to be alone and wanted to dismiss every people ruthlessly. There were times when I wanted to say nasty things to someone who deserved that. But alas, I have too much to lose.

This post is just a product of flash depression or transient emotional surge but it remains true on certain level. It doesn’t mean that I would have chosen differently if I could turn back time. I am more than content with where I stand right now. I suppose one cannot have everything he wants.

Now you must be thinking that this post has nothing to do with anime. Well, that’s because anime is real and I have it already. Thank you very much if you actually read through all these nonesense ramblings. I hope you enjoy it and may even be so kind to share your thoughts. But, for this one time, I write solely for myself and I don’t really care if you are bored to death by this post :P

ps. I need a holiday, badly

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30 responses to “To live fast and die young: a personal post

  1. You talked about wanting to train with the sword. Fittingly, there is a saying from the martial arts that I think you should keep in mind: in some ways, training with technical skill is less important than training your heart.

    If you hate treating people and being a doctor, it’s probably best that you quit before you explode. You don’t have to walk away from your degree, but you can do things other than primary care. On the other hand, if you just hate the expectations placed on you because you are a doctor, maybe you can find little ways to buck those trends. You will have money, eventually. You will have free time, eventually. If you decide you want to grow your hair long, smoke pot, and go to loud concerts, no one will stop you.

    Ultimately you have to decide who you want to be. Don’t let other people decide that for you.

    • Thanks for your concern! Just exchanging thoughts and exploring my own feeling about this already makes things much better. There are ups and downs in everything and I’ll have to deal with it.
      I think I won’t smoke pot but about the hair and the dress…who knows?

  2. Congrats you at least know you got a darkside. Everyone does but some people i know just delude themselves that they are saints (being judgemental is a sign of this).

    However do remember that your darkside is only a third of you. Your conscience is another third and your own choices is the final third. Maybe you can ask yourself, is being humble something you want? If yes, then you’re not pretending, your practising your humility (and yes it actually takes practise). If no, then feel free to be less humble in the areas you know you’re knowledgable about (also known as confidence).

    • Thank you! And your bringing up the word ‘confidence’ really helped me a lot.
      And speaking of areas I’m knowledgable about, I was never humble when it comes to anime :P

  3. Smoking pot is literally the biggest waste of time ever. I don’t even bother doing it anymore. It’s just dumb.

    I used to have long ass hair. It looked like shit so I cut it. Now I have a nice mohawk that is awesome (well, during the summer at least).

    Hippies suck. The fact that you would ever aspire to be like a hippie in anyway is just ridiculous. God I hate hippies.

    I have a sword. All of my sword skill experience has come from watching old samurai movies.

    I had pierced ears. They were annoying seeing as they kept getting infected. Eventually I just said fuck it and got rid of them. After about 3 years though, my ears still have holes in them, which is weird. I don’t know how they haven’t closed up.

    If you ask me, you should take a week off and go somewhere and laze around. No need to drink (I’m hungover as fuck right now not cool). I need to go run or something WHY IS IT RAINING!?

    This comment kind of lost it’s way. I’ll end by saying that I recall my teenage years. I wish I didn’t care about school as much. I should’ve gotten in some fights. That’s my one regret.

    • you made me LOL by depicting every single point and went into such details why each one sucks. Well, they suck just like you said :D
      It’s sad that holiday is the luxury I cannot afford right now…but the time will come, of course :)

  4. The solution to nearly every one of these problems: go to an anime convention.

  5. It’s okay with me if you want to write something personal every once in a while — you deserve it after cranking out so many entertaining anime reviews :) Everyone has their up days and down days, but in the long run it’s the people you love and who love you that matter. Go out with a friend and have tea or something. Buy a good book. Eat some ramen. Cheer up :) Personally, I think it’s admirable that you’re aiming so high. Being crazy is entertaining for a while, but then it just gets tiring. Trying something out for the first time is always when you have the most fun doing it. As for being sincere when dealing with other people, well, that’s just something I think you’re going to need to figure out for yourself. As long as you have people who know “the real” you, you should be fine.

    • *shivers* For a moment there, you reminded me of someone who would say something just like this. But after I checked your email address, you are not.
      I might just need to be reminded of all these. I really appreciate your advice.
      And speaking of buying a good book, I can’t wait for A Dance with Dragons coming up this July!

  6. I believe in what someone once said: “It’s never too late to be who you could have been.” Because when you do that – you become that person as well as who you are currently. You integrate the missing parts in with the rest of yourself. I have the same mix as you, a doctorate degree (mine is in law) and professional background, combined with an appreciation of the arts – especially anime – and I also have a creative career as a writer.

    I’m middle-aged and I can say that life is long enough for everything you want to do – as long as you actually do it. So get wasted and wave your sword around at the next crazy music festival you can find, while someone shoves needles through your earlobes. ;) Going in to work the next day, you’ll feel great.

    • I almost faint when you said ‘shove needles through my earlobes’ (x_x’)
      Thank you for your encouragement! Sometimes it’s difficult to see the opportunity even though it is sitting right in front of me :)

  7. Wow I didn’t know you were a resident. I’m amazed that you could manage to Handle the workload and still be able to run your blog. The nice thing about everything you named is that you can do it once, get it out of your system and move on. Lol, unless you loved it so much that you couldn’t resist continuing to do it. But it sounds like you just need a good, long vacation to clear your head and refresh yourself. Heh, and maybe you can even try out some of the above too =P

  8. This is a very interesting wish list. I guess, the irony with reality is sometimes/often it’s hard to keep it real. I believe everyone deserves a good break.

    Anyway, thanks for the nice read. ^^

  9. Instead of sword fighting, why not take up fencing? Specifically using the Sabre weapon, where it is more of a slashing motion compared to Foil and Epee which are more thrusting weapons. It’s a great sport.

    Don’t give up! Who’s to say you can’t still do those things on your list? (maybe not the pot and getting drunk bit – way overrated ^^)

    =)

  10. I know all too well what you mean.

    I too wasn’t a teenager. I worked a part time job since I was 15 in addition to keeping near perfect scores in school.
    In college I continued to work and overloaded my schedule. I finished with 4 degrees in various Computer Sciences with almost perfect scores.

    Despite my work, the economy collapses and no jobs in my fields are to be found without moving across country. I am now a department manager at my old high school place of employment. I could’ve got this job with just a high school education.

    I’ve never been on a date. I’ve never had a vacation. Responsibility is a chain we lock ourselves into…the problem is we forget where we placed our keys.

    Here’s to hoping you let your hair grow a little!

    • I am sure that we both have more than enough things to be proud of despite the sacrifices we made. I still think we can some how forge a new key.
      Thank you for sharing! and I hope you are doing fine and being happy :)

  11. Regarding your last point…I don’t think you’re terribly different from the rest of us in that regard. I think I’ve been established as a Christian blogger – so if people have any image of me at all, it’s either as a mindless hypocrite or a really nice guy. The truth is, I’m a bit of both. I try to be nice to everyone, but if people could read my thoughts, they’d see I’m pretty vile and corrupt.

    But I want to encourage you to continue to be nice to others, and to even try to have a heart that more closely matches your demeanor. My mom has been in and out of hospitals almost my whole life, and consistently she’s had doctors who could care less about her. I thought my mom was being hyperbolic in criticizing doctors, until I started going with her on her visits – they seemed more like mad scientists or bankers than they did healers. That’s why I cling like duct tape to a good doctor – I refuse to change my family physician, even though he works in an inconvenient location, and I’d never change our kids’ pediatrician, because he loves our kids. If you can include empathy along with being a good physician, you’ll be that rare person who will not only heal, but transform lives on a consistent basis.

    • Thanks :)
      You can rest assure. I am quite good with my job and I usually have good times talking and treating patients. That’s why I chose this line of work. Elderly patients are quite fond of me judging from occasional gifts I get :)
      What really drove me crazy is the other things like colleagues or miscellaneous requirement. They are very energy-draining and some of them is not compatible with me. But I suppose I cannot have every my way :)

  12. I just want to second Baka-Raptor’s comment. Go to an anime convention and all will be well.

  13. A situation like you had is very common actually. Most doctors have such moments occasionally, and it occurs in some other professions as well. Night shift exacerbates the problem even further. It’s good that you posted this because, hopefully, the process alleviated your suffering to some extent.

    That’s an interesting wish list. Contemplating on reasons why you want something can be very helpful or very dangerous thing because once you realize why you want something, you may cease your desire for it completely.

    I hope you’ll get a break and have some time to relax. I would recommend some activity that does not involve consumption of media, such as watching anime. Take a walk in a park or visit some place where you can clear your head. Also remember that there are people around you who care and would still love you no matter what choice you make *hug*

    • Thank you for a wonderful advice!
      Further consumption of media really worsen things and occasionally trigger fatigue and headache, with the exception of listening to music, I think :)

  14. If it’s any consolation, then you are not the only one out there. I’m currently studying for the final three exams in med-school before my intern-ship (last exam in a couple of weeks) and I can easily relate to your thoughts. A curriculum of around 4000 pages of new literature in each of our subjects (pediatrics, intern medicine and surgery) and 3-4 months to finish it all. I will not say that we have wasted our youth, we have just spend the years in another way quite differently than most others.
    But you did indeed hit the nail directly on the head again…almost the story of my life as well.

    There is a famous novel in our country called “The Neglected Spring” and it describes our situation quite well, I think. I, for one, am currently sitting, white as a ghost, inside my apartment with a book the size of a small car on my desk and looking out the window on the glorious almost summer-like weather. But that is after all the choice we took once we decided what we would spend the rest of our lives on. However I must admit I have cursed the bloody curriculum as many times as there is letters in our gigantic books :-)

    “There is a time for everything” as one of our professors told us in a lecture and continued to tell us about our medical life after we would graduate, pointing out a very important issue in the end of the lesson…”Remember to have a normal life outside the medical profession”…and I cant agree more, even though I have neglected exactly that during the entire 7 years of my study, like you it seems. I think our efforts can be singled down to a single question…is it worth it? Is it worth it to work yourself to death to become the best of the class or to become a professor as soon as possible? And I think the answer is to be found in our professors statement mentioned above. I, for one, will not pursue the chance to become a master anesthesiologist/traumatologist (my future career) as soon as possible…take it step by step and let life have a chance to mess up your plans a little, and…who knows…perhaps it will turn out more positive than you had ever imagined…that will indeed be my life-philosophy the next 5 years. I’ll let you know how it turns out :-)

    • Thank you for sharing! It really really helped.
      I know the feeling when you look at stacks of books you need to work on and they look the size of a small car…wait, you didn’t mean they were actually the size of small car, did you? :P
      I also need to remind myself to have normal life (and even stop looking down on people who live normal lives sometimes -_-)

  15. I like your wish-list. It’s good to know that there are fellow doctors like you who, despite how “normal” appearing on the outside, have all these unique craziness about them. While it’s may not possible as a resident or fellow, I think it would be fantastic to have an attending rheumatologist with flowing curly hair, a pierced ear, and who swordfights on the side! Imagine how affirming that could be to a student entertaining the idea of medicine. It would probably make you happier too, and a happier doctor makes a better doctor.

    For now… take big naps on those post call days and don’t forget to save time to restore yourself! (you can also find a concert to scream your lungs out!!!)

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