Traditionally, we have always celebrated holidays on the evening before.
Tonight is no different. I’m a-ringing in the New Year with lit candles and Christmas/Yule lights, incense, acoustic guitars playing on the satellite music channel, and a freshly semi-clean house.
2008 has been a hell of a year, both fun and challenging. It has been a pivotal year, as many milestones were achieved and decisions made, and I have the feeling that this coming year will be just as pivotal.
The year in review:
1. Last year at this time, we had just finished our first full, arduous year of school, and yet we still held on to the belief that our school was basically good and that while they seized every possible opportunity to capitalize, it was not all about the money.
My how things change.
At present, we’ve just finished our second year, which means we’re that much closer to setting up shop in a strip mall near you.
To be honest, it was the Year of Bitterness, bordering on hostility. I mean, everybody got the life, energy, drive, and passion sucked right out of them by a hypocritical and overbearing administration, even the “think positive” silver-lining types. We realized that everything was indeed all about the money (or covering their collective asses, take your pick; usually, it was both), and that our two-faced admin was dang near indictable. Over the course of this year, it dawned on us that we ran the risk of walking across the stage at graduation as ineffective doctors better suited to be fanatical fringe-appealing salespeople who reeked of some kind of fundamentalism, who might have amounted to something if we had actually earned bonafide business degrees. But we didn’t. And what the hell do you do with Anatomy? It’s a tough and prestigious degree to earn, and it just might impress the hell out of the world, if only anybody cared besides fellow DCs. There’s more but I have the feeling it’s going to need its very own post.
2. Also last year at this time, we made the lion’s share of the wedding planning progress. The planning could not have gone any better; everything fell into place and took a fraction of the typical time. The wedding itself took place on Halloween and it went off without a hitch, smooth as glass, save for a flaky DJ with a malfunctioning hippocampus (that’s the short-term memory bank for those of you with lives). It was beautiful and amazing. With any luck it provided some inspiration for some of the unmarried couples who attended. We’d like to think so.
Sidebar: I’m probably one of the luckiest people on earth, to have my partner. He is one of the warmest, kindest, funniest, most intelligent, most sensitive, and most respectful men on this planet. He’s the kind of guy who would restore even the bitterest woman’s faith in the male gender. He’s a fantastic cook. He does the laundry. He combines errands and plans them outside of times of heavy traffic to minimize the amount of time I spend driving. He likes cats. He leaves the toilet seat down. He doesn’t smoke, drink, take any drugs, dabble in porn, go out with the guys, or oogle other women. He doesn’t crack distasteful jokes, especially in mixed company. He’s comfortable enough with his own masculinity that he doesn’t feel the need to display machismo. He treats his patients well and listens to them. He likes nostalgic ’80s movies and doesn’t fall for stupid humor. He pays attention to the world around him, not just what the mainstream media want him to swallow.
3. I continue to struggle with a couple of mysterious health issues. It’s not anything common or deadly like diabetes or heart disease, nor is it debilitating like asthma, depression, or paralysis. No, I’ve been going deaf, so slowly that I barely noticed it. Not just your normal hearing impairment, either; it has its good days and its bad days. It’s not that the nerves are dying off, at least not yet; it’s that there’s something somewhere that is interfering with them. Maybe the nerves are being injured, but there is indeed a perpetrator on the sidelines. Whether it’s a food allergy, an accumulation of released particles from my leaking amalgam fillings, or yet something else, remains to be figured out, which is not currently something I have the money to do. I’m leaning more toward the mercury hypothesis at this point, because I have all the other symptoms: the balance and coordination issues, the short-term memory loss, the tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and the occasional nystagmus (involuntary horizontal eye twitching).
Other previous health issues are improving, though. The migraines have become less frequent and I no longer fall asleep in class, probably thanks to my fall from vegetarian grace. Reverting back to omnivore status was a tough and guilt-ridden decision to make, but after two and a half years, I had to face the inevitable; I function better when I include animal flesh. I can’t explain it; it is what it is.
4. This year, I’ve taken some powerful steps to take my life back. I slowed down my driving, preserving both gas and sanity. It works and it doesn’t cost much extra time. I tightened the leash on my massage availability. No longer do I work into the evening on Fridays, nor do I schedule more than one appointment on a school night. I’ve turned off all political AM radio talk shows and evening newscasts. Most of what concerns me I’ll hear about at school anyway, as the mainstream media typically ignore those subjects. I’ve made it a point to stay regular with my studing, then to take some time to unwind, and then get to bed earlier. It’s still hit-and-miss, but I’ve made some progress and I notice the difference.
5. And last but not least, last year at this time, I was researching, and in the process of adopting, Buddhism as a faith that I would soon follow and practice. This year, I am doing the same with Wicca, as an apprentice until this coming fall, when I will become a true practitioner through the typical and traditional process of self-initiation. I’m still a Buddhist, and I’m still a Hindu as well. (Gosh, I’m starting to sound like Gandhi: “I’m a Hindu. I’m a Buddhist. I’m a Jew…” Not that that’s a bad thing.)
I look back because I firmly believe that one must reflect upon the past in order to discern where he or she is going. Here’s where I’m going–my New Year’s Resolutions:
1. At school, I resolve to make the most of my education, to absorb and incorporate the material, to understand it thoroughly and to apply it properly. To study diligently, consistently, and to stay awake and attentive in class.
2. In marriage, I resolve to be as good a spouse to my partner as he is to me, to give more than I take, to be supportive and encouraging, to listen attentively and empathetically and provide stress relief, to do my part to keep a clean uncluttered home, and to keep control over my thoughts, actions, words, and moods.
3. As an intern, I resolve to take good care of my patients, to listen carefully, to observe astutely, to consider every possible option in diagnosis and treatment, to go the extra mile and to be their advocate when approaching my staff doc to discuss treatment options. I’ll respect their intelligence, always telling them why I prescribe what I do, instead of resorting to false information simply because I think it’s easier for them to absorb, or using fear tactics or high pressure to keep them coming back.
4. For myself, I resolve to take care of myself both physically and mentally. Physically, I’ll opt for organic fruits and vegetables and organic animal products and abstain or minimize junk foods, artificial ingredients, processed foods, and non-organic foods. I’ll also set aside time specifically for physical activity. I also resolve to continue the search for the underlying cause(s) of my issues and once identified, to faithfully work to eliminate them. Mentally, I’ll pay more attention to what I surround myself with, whether that pertains to people, music, movies, colors, words, concepts, subjects, research, space, clutter, photographs, or vibes. I’ll avoid horror or violent movies, edgy hostile music, dark subjects and concepts, agitating colors, or toxic/negative people consumed by their own issues that they use to manipulate those around them.
5. As a Hindu, Buddhist, and Wiccan apprentice, I resolve to study the faiths I follow and practice regularly, (save for nights before exams), and to live up to their tenets to the best of my ability. I’ll never prosthelytize or evangelize, but I’ll also never hide or deny what I am. Never will I doubt that which rings true to me, nor will I fail to speak up and question that which does not make sense.
Raise the roof. Carpe diem. Just don’t forget to turn off the music and blow out the candles.