(I'm sorry if my posts are boring and self-centered for the next few weeks. I am working really hard on resolving some of the questions I have by the end of the summer. Please bear with me. It helps me a lot to write all this stuff down.)
It's hard to give up the hope that I can be reach the top of something like medicine. Especially when part of the reason is that I rather be pursuing an endeavor which I already know I can never get to the top of. But letting go of this intellectual vanity and embracing a more humble stance will be a good thing. In this way I will achieve true happiness. The kind of happiness where your heart and soul sing rather than a "happiness" that is measured by worldly standards. I am pretty sure that I would enjoy being an amateur musician much more than being a Nobel prize winning doctor. If my life were to end in ten years what would I remember more fondly: graduating from graduate school or finally playing Brahms' Third Symphony (oooo, or how about Le Tombeau de Couperin)? There really is no contest.
That being said I do still need to make a living and if it's possible to make some sort of scientific career work for me then I will gladly do it. I just need to get all these thoughts out so that I am conscious of who I am during my decision making. It's easy to revert back to my old ways of thinking. If I do end up deciding on something stressful and all-consuming it MUST be because it is something that I truly want for myself. No other reason will be acceptable (e.g. prestige, social pressure, etc.).
I think my latest rash of irrational thoughts are all a result of one feeling: FEAR. Subconsciously I am freaking out about the possibility of leaving my job in the next few months. I've been here for 8 years and it's really all I know. Even though I don't enjoy it at all I can't seem to let go. A part of me feels as though I can't make a living anywhere else. I know this makes no sense but I still feel it. This fear is what's driving me to try to figure everything out before I make the jump. However I may have to jump while still facing much uncertainty. Will I have the strength to go through with it? I must!
Let's say I remove future motherhood, career aspirations, and even music from the picture and focus just on this job. I can NOT stay here for the rest of my life. Even if I did like what I actually do (which I don't) there is one fundamental problem with this job. My office is located in Connecticut. Now I used to blame the whole state for my unhappiness but I know now that the location itself is not to blame. It is I who doesn't belong here. Whatever I end up doing I know that where I want to be working is back in my hometown, Manhattan. I think I'd be happier cleaning windows there than being in this comfortable office here. Ok, maybe that's an exaggeration but you get my point. I miss being in New York so much. It and the people really energize me. So no matter which way I look at this job I can't think of it as a life-long possibility. That means that it's inevitable that I have to let it go. The timing of this doesn't really matter. I just need to convince myself that it's ok to let it go. I have to believe that there is something for me where I want to be. If I think of it this way instead of getting overwhelmed by all the other factors affecting the decision it becomes much easier. So even if I'm undecided come July going into the City for nine months of school has to be a good thing if only because it will put me where I want to be. Now it's just a matter of strengthening up so that I can have the dreaded conversation with my manager.