Don’t worry, you can rest assured that this post has nothing to do with me regretting leaving medicine and yearning to go back! Though I have completed my residency in it’s entirety and “could” go back, I am just having way too much fun enjoying my new day job and relishing my new found freedom to even give such a dreadful scenario one second’s worth of thought.
Rather, I have decided to title this post, “What Am I Doing?”, because this is what you may very well be asking yourself after you watch the following video. This beautifully put together piece chronicles one man’s recent 1 year journey around the world after he courageously quit his desk job. Just a word of warning: If you are currently a medicine intern, you may want to come back to this post in July since this video is bound to make you madly stir crazy. It may also cause you to start questioning why on earth you signed up for 80 hr work weeks, being chained to a pager, getting verbally abused from everyone from the scrub nurse to the janitor, wasting precious time writing reems of nonsensical cover your ass notes and filling in piles of redundant forms, all the while there is a rich and amazing world waiting to be discovered on the outside.
Actually, taking a “gap year” to see the world is actually rather common among Europeans. Among Americans, this is a relative rarity. I can personally attest to this after my most recent 2 month overseas trip this past summer. I figure that my fellow Americans are just too damn busy mapping out their lives since Kindergarten like I pointed out in this post to ever consider doing such a thing. We are programmed from a very young age to get the best grades, go to the best schools, get the best jobs, and to cut as many throats as we have to so we can be the Mr. and Mrs. Alpha Jones family on the block. And all for what? Please realize that the “American” way is NOT the only way and you don’t have to buy into the bullshit either and trade away your valuable time which you can never get back.
A constant source of fear and stress that plagues a physician’s workday is the constant threat of getting sued in our Barnum Bailey circus of American healthcare. It is because of this fear that CYA (Cover Your Ass) medicine is widely practiced which only drives up healthcare costs even higher. For you premeds out there, don’t think it can happen to you? Think again! The majority of physicians will find themselves sued at least once in their careers. After getting served papers and dealing with months or years of questioning one’s self worth or even struggling with thoughts of suicide, it’s time to go for the dreaded deposition. Ever wonder what it feels like to get deposed? Well, here is a taste of what to expect from such a surreal experience. This poor doc, who should be healing the sick or saving lives rather than getting grilled by some asshat clown in a Hawaiian shirt, couldn’t have said it any better!
If you could ONLY include 23 scenes from your life, just as this profound short film had, what would your video look like?
You only have 1 life. Live it well. You are the author of your life’s script.
I stumbled upon this wonderful story today about a woman who has found contentment in her life yet lives at the “poverty” line. I can relate to her story because when I was a resident I blogged in detail about my own budget which was also at the poverty line ==> MD Living in Poverty . It was through the cutting of unnecessary expenses and eschewing the greed fueled American lifestyle that I was able to escape medicine. No fancy car, latest high tech gadget, or gaudy piece of jewelry was worth giving up my freedom for as long as I was chained to a job in healthcare. Thanks to this realization, I will never step foot in a hospital again unless it is to visit a dying relative (I made a vow to not spend my last days in a hospital bed no matter what the circumstances! I consider myself a DNA- “Do Not Admit”).
Anyone can do this if they really want to make a change in their lives. By living within her means, Ms. Wilcoxon has been able to escape the relentless and punishing American rat race. Unlike most other Americans who work themselves to death so they can buy things to justify the countless hours they clock in everyday and to impress others within their social circles, this woman has courageously turned her back on all that. She appears to have found a MUCH easier path to achieving happiness and peace in her life without all the needless sacrifice. Instead of slogging away, 12 hrs a day, at some dreaded soul sucking job, Ms. Wilcoxon instead lives on a charming boathouse on the bay in San Francisco and leisurely spends her days taking in the beautiful environs and doing what she loves to do…paint. Kudos to You, Ms. Wilcoxon, for discovering the secret on living well….and all for a mere 12K year!! Here are some highlights from the video portraying her lifestyle:
“I don’t have huge payments, I’m not stressed out by a job, I make just enough money to pay for my lifestyle, I don’t need a lot of money for a big house with 3 cars and 5 bedrooms and big payments, it‘s not what I’m interested in.”
Wilcoxon lives on about $12,000 a year, paying a small monthly fee to the cooperative for berth rights (which includes sewage and laundry). Her electric bills are only about $12 in the summer and $60 during the frosty winter months.
Her minimal expenses allow Wilcoxon to live as an artist. Her work has been shown in the American University Museum (Washington DC) and she’s represented in New York (Brenda Taylor Gallery) and San Francisco (Jack Fischer Gallery), but her most enduring work is her boat home itself.
Seriously, what is wrong with this country? People can stand in line for hours in sub zero weather for a freaking pair of sneakers yet can’t get their fat asses off the couch to protest and vocalize the injustices in our govt right now? I am almost beginning to think that Nike has some sort of contract with Congress to keep Americans in their slumber.
Furthermore, I can’t fathom dropping that kind of money on footware. As my loyal readers may already know, I am quite the frugal minded person and I run a fiercely controlled budget. So my burning question is where are these folks getting this money? Can anyone tell me? Yet at the same time, they can’t cough up 20 bucks to pay the copay for a routine doctor’s visit? As society continues to devalue healthcare, you can only imagine where salaries are going to continue to trend. Why go through the rigors and hell of med school, when you can get a job working in fashion, sports, or anything pop culture related? That’s where the money seems to be going nowadays (at least before the economy completely goes off the cliff). Unbelievable! America is truly doomed until it gets its priorities back on track.