Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A stark realisation

I've done a rotation in oncology - it makes me realise that life is truly impermanent. I've seen for myself that some of the patients are young dudes. Dudes my age, or around my age. And that's just the dying people. Even more people my age transition directly from the healthy-and-alive phase to the dead phase, skipping the dying phase altogether.

Even the famous dudes conk out early all the time.

Joe Strummer did.

Michael Jackson did.

Stephen Gately did.

It could be me as much as it could have been them.

25? 50? 75? I dunno.

But I had better live every day as though it would be my last. And this time, I mean it. Because, when I get diagnosed with terminal cancer or whatever, I don't want to spend my last bedridden months regretting.

We have finite lifespans, and we had better analyse our own priorities and act on them before we conk out.

Do I really want to suck up to the boss who is going to forget me in 2 months? Do I want to sacrifice my health and mental health, and the opportunities to be around my parents (who have their own finite lifespans), just because of what others expect of me?


I want to do the things that matter to myself. Experiencing new things, seeing things in new perspectives, being accountable to the people I treasure, and keeping myself healthy.


I am accountable to my employer. But I am also accountable to my family, my friends, and most importantly, myself.

What do I really want?

What do I really, really want?


At my deathbed, would I regret not putting in enough hours at work? It's more likely I'd regret the more pleasurable things that I had not had enough of.

Seeing the flocks of birds fly across the sunset.

Watching Hollywood's best works.

Listening to the most intricate of modern music.

Tasting the various flavours that world cuisine has to offer.

Having had fulfilling relationships.

And the simple pleasure of living as many healthy, pain-free days as we can possibly have.

Working excessively hard at work would not, in any way, improve my life.


As a medical professional I want to be an ambassador of good health. Live healthy, eat healthy, think healthy, and to spread the message.

I can't do that when I'm working 14 hour days, having so little time for rest I have to sleep like a homeless man on public transport just to get enough rest to get by.

I ache all over. I'm emotionally worn. I feel like a broken-down man. This can't be good for my lifespan.


Call me lazy, call me irresponsible, but I'm taking charge of my life. I'm going to underperform at work, because it is my responsibility to myself.

I have to make the choices that make my life meaningful to myself. I have to live every day as though it is my last.

Who knows when I will conk out?


Anonymous said...

Wrote to you before.

Get out of medicine if you can. Do something else that pays better in the short term so you can retire earlier and live out your dreams before you die.

Staying in medicine just means you will work till the day you die.

Some people love helping others so much this is their dream. But if it isn't better think of alternatives.

Glad you have seen the light.

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