You’re at a dinner party and someone asks you ‘what do you do?’

You realise you need to come out and say that you’re a doctor. Cue change in expression and words of awe. Suddenly, they’re looking at you in a completely different way, and you wish you said you worked in retail. Maybe you’re struggling daily to show up to work, but everyone around you is applauding how you have everything ‘put together’.

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Prince Harry – doesn’t want to be a prince

Maybe you’re living someone else’s dream. I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, but the recent interview aired with Prince Harry made me want to write about it. Prince Harry likens his life to being in the “Truman Show and a zoo”. From his early twenties he realised he did not want to be a prince.

I don’t want this job, I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be doing this. Look what it did to my mum, how am I ever going to settle down and have a wife and family when I know that it’s going to happen again?

Prince Harry, Duke of sussex, member of the British royal family

This got me thinking. My heart hasn’t been in medicine for a few years and I have carried around a large burden of guilt because of this. However, if the prince of the British Royal Family can come out in public and say he doesn’t want to be a prince…then it really changes everything.

Most people have dreamt of being royalty. Almost every Disney movie is based on a young girl becoming a princess. A fairy tale ending, that makes most people believe being a royal is a privilege that anyone should be happy to have. Prince Harry grew up in a palace, the Royal Family get an annual stipend from tax payer money, they have almost unlimited resources.

Despite all this, Prince Harry does not want it. Maybe he is living someone else’s dream.

Photo by King’s Church International on Unsplash

Guilt

I don’t know if this has happened to you, but I have had a lot of people tell me that I am very lucky. That I have my life put together, and how I just have everything ‘sorted’. It is funny for me to think that there are strangers (and friends) out there that are looking to my life as a source of envy. That I have ‘everything’.

Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

I do feel very lucky for my partner and relationships. I don’t take this for granted at all. The one thing in my life that is slightly tricky though is my work. I don’t think these people realise the amount of emotional pain I have gone through the past few years in this career. There were a few months in the end of 2020 where I did not sleep or eat due to the sheer amount of stress in my job (I’ll elaborate in another post). I looked terrible, cried every day, was exhausted, I hadn’t seen my friends or family, and I was losing weight.

I’m thankful that I have shelter, and a regular pay check, but there is something not right. Sometimes I feel like I can’t share my feelings with anyone, because people believe I’m living a ‘perfect life’.

Maybe I am living a perfect life, but it isn’t my perfect life.

I am feeling less guilty saying this aloud, and the fact that a prince can publicly say he doesn’t want to be a prince, makes me feel a whole lot better.

Photo by George Pagan III on Unsplash

Life values

In my opinion, it all comes down to life values. What is your top priority? If my top priority was stability, money, and career progression I would want to continue being a doctor. However, I have done a lot of soul searching, and have realised my top priorities are very different. I’ve always enjoyed helping people, but I believe I can help people in so many other ways.

My number ones
  • Time – to have time for myself, my family, my partner
  • Friends and family
  • Nature – to be able to see the sun on a nice day
  • Creativity – to be able to do what I love most – create

I do not want or need a lot of money. I just need enough to pay for food, bills and rent. Luckily for me, I live in Australia. Here any job has a minimum wage that can be enough to get by.

Prince Harry’s main values are not fame, royalty, money or power. His values are his wife and children. For him it was an obvious choice, and he made the decision that was right for his heart.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Not a quitter

I’ve read that the majority of people who are doctors have a type of personality called The Loyalist (Enneagram type 6).

The committed, security-oriented type. Sixes are reliable, hard-working, responsible, and trustworthy

from The Wisdom of the Enneagram, p. 235-236

One of the weaknesses of a type 6 personality is that they may have problems with self-doubt, and trusting their inner guidance. Known to “go down with the ship” and hold onto things much longer than other personality types. If this is the case, no wonder there are so many medics out there pushing through and holding on til the bitter end. Maybe there are more doctors out there doubting if medicine is for them, but they are ignoring their inner guidance. A certain inner voice whispering “something is not quite right”.

To do well in high school, medical school, and survive as a doctor you cannot be a ‘quitter’. It requires a lot of perseverance and discipline. Most medics have built their life around this. Never giving up, never quitting. I’m sure most are over achievers, who have excelled in multiple things in their lives.

However, I believe quitting is necessary sometimes. To close a door allows another to open. Getting rid of the old that does not serve you anymore, and make room for an exciting new path. The scariest part is closing the door and taking the leap of faith into the unknown.

The  definition  of  insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but  expecting different results

Albert Einstein

Photo by Romain V on Unsplash

Sunk cost fallacy

It is even harder to ‘quit’ medicine because of all the time and money invested into this career. It takes years of self sacrifice, study and energy. Most of my youth has been dedicated to this profession. Yet my heart isn’t in it.

Sometimes you think, I have come this far, I should just finish it. Yet this reasoning is actually a fallacy. The years I have put in can never be recovered. Does that mean I should continue to invest my time and future into something I know isn’t for me? It doesn’t make much sense to influence future decisions on past actions. Maybe it is time to cut my losses and move on.

For now, I am working towards finishing this 2nd year in the hospital. I know now that I may be living the dream, but it seems to be someone else’s.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Feature photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash