Every year, I like to reflect on the old and plan for the new. This year is a tad different because it’s the beginning of a new decade, and the endless possibilities seem even more infinite. Being swept up in the global swell of enthusiasm for change is euphoric, and I feel so powerful knowing that I am capable of making the Roaring 20s everything I’m hoping for and more.

The Old:

Clear Mind, Clear Skin: My mantra for 2019 was a culmination of several habits I wanted to improve. I love my body and wanted to take better care of it because it does so much for me. My brain helps me solve many problems and keeps me alive. My eyes look ahead towards the future with optimism. My skin keeps out foreign pathogens and retains the water I’ve worked so hard to drink. My arms hold close those who are near and dear to my heart. My white blood cells work hard to fight germs and keep me healthy.

To do better, I listened to what my body told me it needed. Even though studying takes up the majority of my days, I’ve been well rested, well fed, and well hydrated. No matter how much or how well I’ve studied, I tend to be in bed by 1 AM so my brain can build those synaptic connections while I rest. Often times, my friends remind me to break from studying to recharge and refuel with naps, fruit, veggies, and plenty of water, and often share their snacks and nourish me with home-cooked meals. All of this goodness shows in my smile and my skin :).

Adventure: I’ll admit two weekend trips per month was quite ambitious. Although I didn’t quite reach the moon, I landed among the stars. Looking back now, I traveled a lot more than I realized and it seems that I forgot what life was like before med school. I traveled to Knoxville FOUR times, Chattanooga twice, Savannah, New York City, Boston, Portland, Kennebunkport, Gatlinburg, and Pigeon Forge. I checked many things off various bucket lists and am so proud of myself. It really was the most adventurous year.

The New:

Explore more: I don’t know how I’ll be able to top 2019, but the wanderlust will continue. I want to visit Nashville after talking about it for years, and revisit Austin, Charleston, and Colorado now that I’m older. On a more outdoorsy note, I want to camp out under the stars at Max Patch, kayak in Lake Louise, hike up more mountains, and be awake for more sunrises.

Touch Me Harder: While practicing physical exams, my “patients” said to touch them harder. We had a good laugh, but I do want to become more collected and confident in my actions. My new plan of action includes:
1) Speaking steadily by slowing down to allow my mouth to catch up with my brain.
2) Being firm in my actions to show that I know what I’m doing, but being gentle enough to ease any fears.

Confidence has been a work in progress for the past several years, but now it’s even more important when caring for patients who look to me to care for them. If I don’t seem sure of myself, how can others trust me?

I started the year off with a sprained ankle, but went hiking and boogied a bit anyway. It wasn’t the best choice, but I enjoyed a spectacular sunset with my cousins and rang in the new year with my friends. If this is foreshadowing the next 365 days, then I have no doubts that I’ll do whatever I want (probably despite sound advice), and still find the good in my not always so good decisions.

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