The Hedgehog Dilemma: A hedgehog wants to approach its fellow hedgehogs but can’t for fear of pricking and being pricked by their spines. I don’t make friend very easily. Up until a certain level of comfort, my brain shuts down and reduces me to a struggling awkward heap; I prefer the extremes of engaged conversation and fun banter to the middle doldrums of small talk.
Last week, I can happily say I made friends. I felt more at home in Plan II, the quad, and the university at large – I felt accepted, relaxed, confident. Listening to, as is my custom when writing, some soothing and wild movements of jazz I’m drawn back to a warm nostalgia. I stare at the cork board in front of my desk and remember the journey that brought me here, people and all, and realize the scarcity of my friendships has been replaced with the enormous depth of the few I cherish. I think of the new ones I am forging still and imagine fondly the nostalgia which one day will one day consume my undergraduate career.
This weekend my parents picked me up and I drove a short while back home to Katy, just in time for an existential crisis. Again, like in my post the week before, I struggled with the projections of my future self. I thought of my desire to help, the anathema of debt, the long road to medicine, the potential nihilism of an unfulfilling profession, the american healthcare
system debacle , parents, friends, myself – and then I stopped. I was furious with myself, frightened, and stressed. I opened up to my parents about my concerns and received a succinct reply: “Just do what you love, don’t worry about the money. Money is always there to be made.” The advice was simple, but wholly reassuring. Then, I went back to my first years in the US, as a child, when we had 7000 dollars to our name, a dictionary, and each other. And I was happy then, just as I am now, revealing the logarithmically increasing utility of money. There’s a first world – but particularly american – obsession with money that devours our youth. In an epiphany and sudden channeling of Tyler Durden I realize that I don’t want money. I don’t want anything to do with it. I want food on the table but I want to do something meaningful, and I want people in my life, and I don’t want to wake up every morning feeling headed for a heart attack, and I don’t want my degree to weigh on me like a suicide note. I’m going to pursue medicine in spite of all the pitfalls, frustrations, debt, and grim outlook associated with modern practice, because that’s what I want to do. Sure, my “life” won’t “begin” until I’m 35, and I might not unshackle myself from loans until I’m 45, but all I need is food and travel and good company and there’s a million and one things that can get me there; a million dollars is only one. I’m still afraid, but at peace.
“Without pain, without sacrifice, we would have nothing”
 Agraphia – A Medical Tragicomedy (link in text)