Write with a pen.

October 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Last year, I started writing in pencil because I was working on so many calculations. Indeed, there was room for error last year. I could make some mistakes.

As I come closer and closer to finally entering the world of medicine, the pressure is building, and room for error is rapidly closing. In one of my classes, I actually must write in pen, if I want the ability to request a regrade.

The transition has been somewhat unsettling. A perfectionist at heart, I felt that the ability to erase seemed like a safe-haven — and it kept my notes looking flawless. But now I’m writing my problem sets and lecture notes in pen, because I need to practice.

I need to see my errors, understand them, and correct them. I need to highlight my weaknesses and turn them into strengths. I need to learn to be better, faster, clearer — the first time around.

This year, I’m not f*cking around.

the balancing act.

September 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

I want it all.

Every day, I wonder if having it all is possible, and I beat myself down whenever I realize that I’m not even close to doing it all. My list of wants, needs, dreams, interests is overwhelming.

I’m not taking enough photos. I haven’t painted in almost a year. I’ve ignored my journal for a week. I’ve only posted on my blog a few times this summer. I’m not volunteering when I should be. I don’t know HTML well enough to build the website I need and want. I’ve yet to send thank you notes to the donors of the Bataan Foundation. I haven’t framed anything in my apartment. I don’t have a dresser or a table. I don’t photoshop. My alcohol tolerance is pitiful these days. I don’t know how to cook yet. I don’t see my friends enough. I haven’t finished a real book in 2 months. I need to visit my mother more often. I haven’t started studying for school. My Google Reader is overflowing. I don’t know enough about the pullout in Iraq. What’s going on with education in the U.S. these days? I need to do yoga every day.

It’s enough to stop me from sleeping.

Sitting here now, sleepless, dry-eyed, and anxious, I wonder if I’ll ever find the time to stay on top of everything. Motivated by my anxiety, I’m ready to pull out an easel and some charcoal right this second, and draw something out of a Renoir sketchbook. I’m amped enough to write that novel already, to frame all the pictures I have flagged in my iPhoto, to cook a 3-star Michelin meal, to perform life-saving surgery on a child with cancer.

I could be great at any of those things. With focus, persistence, and commitment, I could be great.  I know I’ll achieve some, maybe even a lot, but will I ever reach the highest level of greatness at any one thing, if I don’t stop dabbling at a little bit of everything?

It’s still a battle to be enough to myself. A fruitless one. I know I won’t be satisfied unless I try to master this balancing act.

So, as a promise to myself, I won’t ever stop trying.


April 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

get off your ass.


be bold.

March 28, 2010 § 1 Comment

I know what I want.  I won’t pretend like I’ve got my career figured out, but I do know what certain parts of my life equation can be.

For one, I want to always write.  I realize that I can always write.  It’s something that has been mine since forever, and I will never lose my passion for it.  I can pen my thoughts and hope someone listens, but I will never stop — no matter what I end up doing in life.  And whether I quit my day job as a writer, my quill will still be the lens by which I view the world for all my time.

Secondly, I am going to heal people.  I say this with a new sense of vigor and authority, because I am on the road now.  I may have taken just a tiny first step in a long and winding path, but that first step is momentous.  That first step is an act of true boldness and defiance of the status quo.  And for the first time in a long time, I am nothing close to complacent; I am dynamic.

Until now, my dreams were just dreams; in this moment, they are also goals. They are tangible — it’s like, if I could reach far enough, I could touch these dreams.  They are mine to mold, and shape and reshape again.  And, in the beauty of all that is going to happen, the most satisfying part of all this right now is that I’m doing something about those dreams.

I am building my own world now, and I am in love with the future.


March 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

There is nothing great about limbo.

I am in between worlds right now, struggling to get out of one and into another, and I can’t seem to find a place for myself to rest peacefully in purgatory.  So, I do all that I can do: wait.

I know a lot of you know what this feels like.  So many of us are in a dynamic time of our lives.  A time when we question where we are and a time when we forge paths for our tomorrows.  But once we do all we can to prepare the road for walking, we’ve got to wait until we hear that fateful decision. On a piece of paper. In the mail. Which is slow.

It’s enough to go insane.  Thankfully, I’ve been spending most of this month away from home because my mother is in the Philippines.  While I miss my mother terribly, it’s worked out pretty well.  Staying in New York all month has forced me to keep busy and to stay away from constantly checking my mailbox for answers, for relief, for the green light on all the plans I’ve thought up.

Until then, this waiting period seems so stagnant, and I loathe that feeling.  It’s as if I’m at the edge of a precipice, and I’ve got my parachute ready to go.  I’m basically leaning over the cliff, ready to fly, but I’ve got a cord stuck on something behind me. Well, that’s exactly it I guess.  I’m stuck on something that I’ve already moved beyond, and I’m just waiting for the right time to press forward and free myself.

All the while, the complacency feels like betrayal to me. It feels wrong. It feels dirty.  It’s like walking through mud or seeing with dirty eyeglasses. It’s like stifling heat.  It’s uncomfortable for me, but I just have to wait out the pain.  Do the best that I can in purgatory.  And work hard to make myself worthy of leaving it.

Because change is coming.


March 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

Don’t worry; I won’t be expounding on a complex treatise on Jennifer Lopez, kickboxing, and the ills of domestic abuse. 

This is about ambition and character. The other day, I was freaking out about whether ‘good enough’ was ever going to be good enough.  And, like magic, at work, John C. Bogle’s book Enough. was dropped into my lap.  Though it may seem boring to some — in short, it’s about the investment world and the excesses of the industry — it looks like it could be a very interesting read for any ambitious person who is looking for balance in his or her life.

From just a glance, it can be very business-based at times, but it is both intuitive and all-encompassing.  The book is about more than being successful in your careers and knowing the limits of greed and overzealous ambition; it’s about being better “members of our families, our professions, and our communities.”  It’s very utilitarian in a sense, and it might put some of my goals in perspective.  Sounds like I might want to read more about being “enough” and knowing what is “enough.”

Thought I’d share because it might be interesting to those of you who haven’t already heard about it.

could it be cupidity?

March 1, 2010 § 2 Comments

So, a lot of this blog has been about some search for meaning, satisfaction, or growth in my life.  I think we all seek something greater than what we’ve already known, and, if you’re anything like me, you will always be looking for the next big thing.

I’ve wondered about this a lot — about what ambition is to me, and perhaps more importantly, about what ambition does to me.  You know, we all talk of priorities, goals, aspirations, dreams, passions, but at what point in our search is ‘good enough’ good enough?

I grow and I climb and I seek and I hunt.  I rise.  I’m of the breed Type A, and for my people, there exists an infinite trajectory for this search, and no fathomable completion save for death.  It sounds morbid, but I just don’t see an end to my maniacal want for more.  I know I’m a student of life for life.  I know I’ll never stop wanting to be better, to know better, to feel better.  And I know that’s not actually a bad thing, but, if the search never ends, then do you ever really reach a point of satisfaction?

Will here and now, with what I have and what I know, ever be enough?

sing to me

November 25, 2009 § Leave a comment

Another “sing to me” because I’ve been feeling really inspired by others lately, and this one hit the head on my struggles with self and ambition and the way I deal with my goals for myself:

“I did have a lot of doubt when I was a young person. And I was always holding myself to a very high standard and failing, thinking I was never perfect, never as good as I wanted to be as a person, as a student, as anything, a musician. And I actually think some of that is quite healthy. I think all of us could do with a dose of self-doubt, always questioning. But if it’s too strong in your life, it can paralyze you.”

– President Bill Clinton, in 2009.

late bloomer

November 19, 2009 § 2 Comments

Not too many people know this.  Probably because I’m a bit embarrassed, even ashamed, to admit the truth about what I want.  And perhaps I’m ashamed because I’ve been so sheepish about actually doing anything about it.  Because I haven’t been bold enough to truly take that first real step and fall into it.

I know why I want to be a doctor.  It’s not something I ever really talk about in front of people. I won’t converse on the subject at length — unless I think you wouldn’t judge me, or worse, wonder why in the world I would believe I’d be good at something like medicine.

Truth is that I kind of already knew before I even graduated college.  I knew because I’d feel an undeniable rush of jealousy when I’d hear pre-med students cramming on the buses from the Water Street dorm, or when my friends were taking their MCATs and getting into medical school.  Even as I grow as a writer — ghostwriting for a brilliant human being, learning so much about the good work being done in our world — I couldn’t let this idea, hope, dream fly away from me.

Lately, the inaction has been eating at me, and I am ready to stop saying, “tomorrow.”  Good friends push me, and I’m thankful for the ones I feel comfortable enough to speak about this with.  It’s hard to admit that I’m late in blooming, but I’ve made the choice for myself: I will become a doctor, and I will work so hard to get there.  And, once I’m there, everything I really need to know will begin right there.  The real learning will begin right there.  And my impact will be great.

took the plunge.

October 18, 2009 § Leave a comment

I’m merely a hobbyist, but this bad boy may become my new best friend.

Please don’t mind my salivating.


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