Me: How can I help you today?
Patient: Well I think it started when I set my cat's tail on fire. It was it just left this big burn patch when I tried to put it out with the carpet. So now I am going to lose my rent deposit, too. I have to move in 5 days since my rent check bounced. You know they hardly give you anything on social security. That cat gets up on the table but I had lit a candle. That wasn't cheap. Of course I took him to get looked at. They say his fur will grow back eventually. But I don't have any place to move since I won't get my deposit.
Me: Ma'am it says here you came for arm pain.
Patient: Well that has been there a long time.
Me: So let me start over. How can I help you today?
I wish I could count the number of times I have said that. Literally, what motivated you to sit around for hours in a room full of people with contagious diseases so that you could tell me a convoluted story about how you set your cat's tail on fire? Or tell me about your abdominal pain that has been on going for 6 years and is closely followed by your PCP, GI specialist, and neuropath? What can I add to your already complete work up? I wish I could fix all that walked through that door but one thing was clear, every day I felt like a failure because I really couldn't offer the help that people needed.
At first I just fantasized. Then I quit.
Yup, I quit in honor of my 36th birthday. This is the year that something is suppose to happen. I suppose that I could sit around and wait for it but I fully acknowledge that sometimes we have to give fate a little nudge. Things that happen this year will be the result of years of accumulated choices and I believe that the decisions I take now could launch me in completely different trajectories.
I watch my friends finish their degrees, get a good job, get married, buy a house and have a couple of kids. They seem happy. This seems so normal. I do not begrudge them that they have managed to live such normal lives. Sometimes I am even jealous, but I simply realize that somewhere I got off track. It is like looking at a child's growth chart and suddenly discovering that they have fallen off the cure. Normal just isn't working. I lack a job I am willing to settle into and be a good little comrade. I lack a spouse to share the "joys" of home ownership. I want nothing to do with offspring. It is finally time to make this path my own, even if it isn't on trend.