I finished my intern year! What a wild, exciting, crazy, tough, heart-wrenching, and did I mention CRAZY year it's been. I finally understand the "drinking from a fire hose" learning metaphor because I've basically been blasted in the face by the knowledge fire hose 24/7 for the past 525,600 minutes.
To try to synthesize all that down to just a few lessons is obviously difficult - so without giving you a lecture about postpartum hemorrhage or laparoscopy post-operative complications (all of which I finally know something about), here are some of the life lessons I've learned this year that I think (hope) will help me survive the next three.
1. Don't waste time making decisions that don't actually matter.
my wonderful and brilliant friend Anna, but I've really applied it to my life this year and noticed a big difference in how I feel about my time. For example, I just use the same bag every day. Sure, it'd be nice to switch it up, match to outfits or whatever, but the amount of time and energy I waste if I forget to move any one thing is just not worth it. NOPE. One bag (see below for the one I use these days) If I notice myself starting to debate "to do or not to do" something silly, like buying coffee or taking the stairs or wearing a pink shirt, I immediately stop and just pick the first decision that comes to mind and go with it. Because the truth is, there's no version of that decision that's going to make me feel a ton better or a ton worse, but the thinking/debating for 10 minutes surely does.
2. Be kind. Go out of your way to be kind. (Not a lot, just a little)
It's easier, less energy, and always better than you think. Even if it doesn't get the reaction you hoped for (as in, the other people are not kind right back at you), I find that I feel better about myself if I choose the kind thing.
Example 1: A 29 year old woman with viral gastroenteritis comes to the emergency room at 2am on a Wednesday and proceeds to SCREAM at me, "you're a liar, you said we could figure out what's wrong and help me". Instead of saying, "Bitch, Please." I decided to take a DEEP BREATH and say, "I'm sorry you're not feeling well." and explained (again) what we did for her in the emergency department and explained (again) that she really needed to go home and rest. Like, really needed to go home.
Example 2: Holding a door open for a mom pushing a baby carriage even though it means waiting for a WHOLE TEN SECONDS longer before getting my second coffee of the day.
see, I'm kind.
3. One touch it, if you can.
I got this idea from one of my favorite bloggers to read, andkathleen. The idea is this:
if you touch something, immediately put it where it's supposed to go.
sometimes this a physical place like, when you take off your pants, put them in the washing machine.
sometimes this is a mental touch like, when you get an invitation, deciding if you can go right away
sometimes it's an emotional touch like, calling your sister when you think about calling your sister
this has been huge in my life - fewer things recently have gotten lost or stuck in an "in-between space"
4. Decide what's important now (or W.I.N.)
as my old college boyfriend used to refer to it. yup, this one's from him.
I've been in the middle of ten million things with ten million more on hold at basically every moment this year and one of the best skills I've learned is to decide what's important and go 100% with that. I'm a person who thought she was good at multi-tasking, but now, my tasks are much more life and death, much more intense, I try not to do too many at once.
But I also apply this to the non-work things of my life, like on a date with my feyonce - he's the most important thing right now. so no phones, no answering emails, no pinteresting my wedding flowers, just focusing on him.
5. Remove what you don't need.
Critical to all the rest of these things is deciding to just empty your life of everything that doesn't matter. While I'd like to be picking up new hobbies, now is just not the time. While I think maybe someday I'll use those furniture catalogs, I don't really have space for them in my life. While I'd like to stay in touch with all my friends from forever, I just can't. Therefore, in contrast to my mantras so far in life, I'm letting it go. Letting it all go. Well, except the important stuff (see above) - to that, I'm holding on with everything I've got.