I came into the new year with a lot of hope and declared 2019 to be a lot of things. It will be the year I cut down on sugar, eat better, take skincare seriously, learn how to be alright with being alone, speak with eloquence and confidence, and fall in love whether it be with myself and/or medicine.
Since my grandpa passed in 2017, my grandma has been very lonely. Even with Margo by her side during the day and me sleeping on the couch at night to make sure someone is there to help, her loneliness was exacerbated when she was recovering post-op because she was confined to her bed for weeks.
When I went to check on her the other night, she was in bed holding her cellphone close to her face watching a YouTube video in the dark. I asked her whether she had anything to eat several times, each time louder than the last, but she neither moved nor gave a response. When I accidentally flipped on the light switch, she still didn’t move or blink. When I checked on her a few minutes later, she was sitting comfortably reading a magazine and gave me a quizzical look as to why I looked so flustered. Between that night and other recent events, I’ve been in a strange head space. My grandparents were the ones who raised me and to think that neither of them will be with me one day is kind of scary. I still have so much to learn.
My grandma loves looking back and telling me about how her and grandpa used to drive me everywhere, but when I got my license, I was the one driving them around. She also often talks about how I could be her doctor one day, but she’ll be long dead before I graduate med school. Our reminiscent conversations serve as a reminder that our time here is finite. We have a limited number of days to experience as much as we can, so while I do want to accomplish everything that I’ve said earlier in this post, my biggest goal is to live without regrets. By that, I don’t mean recklessly, but fearlessly, without hesitation to experience new things instead of wondering what could have been. At the end of my life, I want to be able to look back like my grandma does on all of these wonderful memories she’s shared with the people she cares about.
A constant obstacle to living fearlessly is saying yes. After my last relationship, I realized that I’m not as open to saying yes as I thought I was, so here’s to saying yes more often in this new year and beyond.