Yesterday I was putting on a pair of jeans that have grown tight in this new year. In the midst of an intense move, job changes, applying for medical school, trying to sort out where I will move if Trump becomes President, I have gained weight. All the fluctuations and how I feel out of control when it comes to my own life got me thinking about how to rightly motivate myself to want to eat well and exercise again after an intense year that has left me apathetic towards my own health. One thing I know--wanting to be healthy in order to fit a status quo and look good externally to a world that changes its opinion like the wind changes direction is not going to get me into a good head space. Americans seem to find so much status and worth in things that are temporary-- where we live, what car we drive, the job that consumes all of our time, the size of our pants, the clarity of our faces. Things that we think are so secure, yet can be lost in a second. We feel superficially good when others notice and applaud our outside success. Soul sucking is the best way I can describe that grind. The freedom comes when actions are the product of an internal place that knows its true worth, recognizing that material things should be held loosely. Lately the loss of the last three years have had me confronting my own motivations- -the way I so often get sucked into living my life for others. Do I want to be healthy in order to get an applause for my figure and discipline, or is my motivation more long term-- wanting energy for the kids I hope to one day have and for the mountains I want to climb and for the clinics I want to start and for all the learning I want to keep doing, which requires a healthy and clear thought life. Do I want to become a doctor so that the people who have spread rumors about my family will see that I (we) are actually somewhat functional-- or is it because I feel called to be a healer, moved by the realities of medical care inequalities, heartbroken but hopeful for the future of medical breakthroughs and the care of the vulnerable and forgotten?
There are a few things on my list of "what I want to do before I'm 30". Some are adventurous, others practical: take the MCAT, start medical school, go hang gliding, start writing a fiction book (something I've always been scared of), but the biggest thing I want to confront is my own heart motivations. I want to walk into a new decade with a sense that my life is not defined by how the world measures success, and I want to end this decade that's been so full already with an overarching theme of these 10 years teaching me so much about the need to prioritize caring for my own heart and keeping that space uncluttered and free.