Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Time is free, but it's priceless

When I was a medical student, I frequently lamented about how little free time I had. (Medical professionals like to complain/brag about how hard they work.)
I now realize exactly how much free time I actually had.
Yes, I had rotations where I worked long hours, but whenever I left the hospital I was completely on my own schedule. I could nap if I was exhausted, I could go to the gym on the way home, I could watch 45 minutes of television if I just wanted to relax.
Now that I have a baby, time has a completely different meaning. Time is a precious commodity that I just can’t get enough of.  Even when I was home with the baby full time I barely had enough time to keep up with the necessities. Babies demand 100% of your time. ALL the time. Having a baby means you’re on baby’s clock. ALL the time. There really is no “spare time” anymore.
One thing that having a baby taught me is time management. I was always an efficient, time-conscious person, but now I am a time efficient machine. I can do laundry, cook, make phone calls, pick-up toys, answer emails, and pay bills in a single 45 minute nap. My study habits are amazing, just because I know it’s now or never; there’s no more “I’ll do it later.” I rarely procrastinate.
One thing that bothers me now is wasting time, especially if I’m away from home. There has been a lot of down time during our orientation – a downright excessive amount. We could have cut out 4 hours of down time yesterday. It kills me! I understand that I have a lot to learn while I’m a resident, and that means I have to be away from my family. I am (mostly) okay with that; now is the time for me to learn how to be a competent physician. I don’t want to sit around though. Making hours of small talk with people I barely recognize is even more painful now - I would much rather be with my husband & son.  My time is just too valuable to me now.
I frequently worry about how I am going to cram a lot of living in a little bit of time over the next few years. But now is not the time for worry; it’s time for bed. My husband always reminds me that time for sleep is important too.

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