Challanges of Change

The following is a piece that I wrote reflecting on the challenges that the disruption of an illness (or injury, in my case) can bring to our lives. My life in medical school was starting to feel like a carousel until I fractured my knee skiing and could not participate in many of my usual activities and commitments. However, as I learned, if we can find the silver lining during negative experiences, that might help us to live fuller, happier lives. 

Sometimes it feels like growing up is learning how to become accustomed to the ever-revolving carousel of adulthood and responsibility. Each new day seems to bring its own list of to-dos while we squeeze in time for hobbies and our loved ones, yet still trying to catch up from yesterday. We continue to ride this carousel, entranced by the rhythm of routine and the comfort of what we have already seen. But what happens when the carousel gets disrupted? Maybe due to an illness or injury, we are forced to get off and venture into the unknown. No routine, no path to follow, and no certainty of what’s to come. With the help of our family, friends, and doctors, we have to endure the discomfort of change. Change will be hard, and the journey unforgiving. However, along the way, we might be forced to do those things that we longed to do but were too far out of our revolving comfort zone to make happen. Maybe it’s learning to say no or forgive yourself when you have to break a commitment. Maybe it’s taking extra time for yourself to heal – and not feel guilty for doing it. Among all of this change, we might learn that there is more to life than just a carousel. We might even learn that there is time to get off for a little while to stop and smell the roses. We don’t choose to have terrible things happen to us, but sometimes those terrible things might force us to learn lessons that can change our lives forever.

Written by Casey McAndrews: Second-year medical student at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine 

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