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Never Forget Those Who Got You Here

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In the pursuit of dreams, we are taught to never lose sight of our goals. It is impossible to accomplish any meaningful ambition without a devotion to discipline and the acceptance personal sacrifice. This creates tunnel vision, which is ideal for reaching a destination, but burdensome for those close to you. It is easy to forget those who hold us up, push us forward and who at the end of the day  just say, “I love you, no matter what.”

When I was 19 years old, I married the woman of my dreams. She was beautiful! Perfect! Yet, in spite of this, I was still not satisfied with my life. She stole my heart, but she could never tame my mind. It was rampant with pain and confusion, tormented by the demands of finding purpose and meaning. Because of this I dragged her all over the world. Manila slums, island jungles infested with insects, disease and even tribal war. Still, she never complained. “I’m just happy to be with you, my love.” Somewhere along the way I decided my purpose was in medicine — to become a physician. I was a 23-year-old high school dropout with absolutely no college or academic success. Still, she never doubted me. “You can do it love, I know you can. I believe in you.”

She has always stayed by my side — almost 11 years now. She gave me two beautiful daughters and right now she carries our son, all while glowing like the stars. It has not always been easy. I worked full-time, went to college, and did all those ridiculous things that we do to achieve our dream to be an MD.

That did not leave a whole lot of time for her in my life. At times I imagine she felt abandoned, like a single mom. I’ll admit it, I almost left more than once. Almost gave up on all that love. Like many suited to pursue a career in medicine, I am innately selfish, struggling with stubbornness and insecurity. But she tells me, “your qualities are both a gift and a curse.” I am convinced that it is her life goal to bring out the good qualities in this grumpy soul.

The moral of the story is never to forget those who love you. They are your greatest gift in life, even if it is hard to see them in the tunnel of pursuit. They secretly give you the strength to become something special, something the world needs badly. Take a break from studying for the boards, take your furry friend for walk, call your mom, give your best friend a hug, and tell them what they mean to you. Give your significant other a kiss, a real one, and thank them. When you finish school, take them on a cruise. They deserve that and much, much more.

We may never be fully satisfied with our lives. We may never truly find peace of mind. But I think that’s okay. This innate drive is what makes humanity great. It pushes us to discover, to cure disease, to stop hunger, and to make this place better. From the guy who will someday be a physician, here is a prescription that puts Valium to shame. Take 10 minutes out of your day, gaze on that beautiful one of yours and remember what made you fall in love them in the first place. Repeat as needed. (Don’t worry, I can send unlimited refills to the pharmacy.)

Eric Donahue Eric Donahue (9 Posts)

Medical Student Editor

University of Washington School of Medicine

Eric serves as a medical student editor at in-Training and he attends the University of Washington - Class of 2017. In the past he has worked in EMS and international community health. As for the future, a career caring for the community is in the works. He believes writing is an essential expression of human ideas, passion and intelligence. Eric is a husband and father of three.