Thursday, May 12, 2016

Springtime Pangs

Over two months of passed since my last post, so I have lots of updates to share with you. The most pressing thing in my life right now is my imminent graduation from residency and subsequent travels. My formal medical training is almost complete: I am about to meet my magic number of 1650 clinic patients, I only have 1 procedure requirement yet to log, and I took my board exam last month. The only thing that remains is my sixth and final obstetrics rotation next month, which will tune me up nicely for all the obstetrics I'll be doing in Togo from August to November. Though I've not been taking advantage of as many teaching opportunities as I was a couple months ago, I continue to learn something every day.

I'm still pursuing jiujitsu and weightlifting. Justin Grant and I have almost completed all 36 Gracie Jiujitsu blue belt lessons, and will be reviewing over the following month in preparation for recording my blue belt qualification video. I've also found myself getting more interested in workout programming (ie creating a long-term goal-oriented workout plan). I've realized how imperative it is for me to gain more shoulder and back mobility, and have started to gear some of my workouts towards that end. I've also decided to build my own home gym next year, including a squat rack, a prowler, a plyometric box, and a couple other odds and ends. That will also be a nice way to learn some carpentry while saving some cash. Finally, I have started to dabble in Krav Maga and the SPEAR self-defense system lately, and hope to learn more in those areas in coming years.

Also paramount have been travel and relationships. Easter weekend afforded Mindy and me the opportunity to explore beautiful northern Arkansas, which was an inspirational blast. We also hosted lots of her family last weekend for her brother's wedding, and it was nice to reconnect with many of them seven months after our own wedding. This month holds fourth the promise of two four-day getaways, first a solo trip to North Carolina to reconnect with my college pals, then off to Colorado Springs with Mindy to explore the area and hang out with her aunt and uncle. I have high hopes for both trips.

                                   Mindy and me on the scenic Kings River in Arkansas

I have also made a few strides in time management. I now listen to podcasts while taking showers, which has been really rewarding. The ones I like the most are The Art of Manliness podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, This American Life, and The Memory Palace. I also continue to read several articles a day that I come across via the Pocket app (which gives you way better articles than Facebook, without all the clickbait), and have started skimming issues of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) and AFP (American Family Physician) the day they arrive instead of letting them stack up. Finally, my Facebook hiatus continues, which has allowed me more time to do, well, life.

On a grander scale, I continue to believe wholeheartedly in the goal-oriented process I've been pursuing on this blog for the last 1.5 years. It produces results, and the scientist respects empirical evidence as the ultimate authority. Yet I've also learned that our purpose as humans-- to understand the human condition-- is one that will never fully be realized, and which can't be monitored with the kind of metrics I apply to the other areas of my life. Wisdom grows by fits and starts and in unexpected ways as we flourish as human beings. Because we don't know what we don't know philosophically, we can't strategize or plan our path forward. Yet we can trust that if we continue to challenge ourselves, new windows of insight will keep flying open.

That's my word of wisdom for now. June will be busy with delivering babies, packing, graduating, and saying goodbye. I plan to give you all an update once this bittersweet period is over and my life has transitioned to its next stage. I'm taking advantage of each moment with my amazing friends and acquaintances here in Kansas, hopefully many of whom I will stay connected with the rest of my life. But the pangs of impending separation sharpen by the day... if I may be so dramatic.

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