On time compression

I’ve noticed time moving differently. Faster.

Time seems to change independently of me. A week will flash by: the weekly SELECT sessions on Thursday afternoons seems to happen every other day and the weekly clerkship lectures with quizzes on Fridays surprise me with their regularity. I recall the Summer Solstice like it was last week, but then I feel the cool mornings with heavy dew and I remember that we are past the Cross Quarter Day and edging closer to the Autumnal Equinox with the beginning of fall.

Reflecting back, how different the pace of life felt during those first two academic years of medical school. Each week, I’d write about one idea noodling around in my brain. I’d stew on it and chew on it until I hit a nugget of truth and then would build an essay around that nugget. Occasionally, I’d overchew. Life moved slower so there was more time to stew. During Step Prep and the final countdown, the clock seemed to stand still.

Now, rather than sifting for an idea, I have to weed out the growing garden. I publish my posts on Sunday. By the end of Monday, I already have a good idea of what I will write for the following essay. Then, a few days of clinic and various life events will roll through and I’ll have a few other ideas for a post. By the time Sunday rolls around, I’ll have a bushel of essays jostling around in my brain and will publish only one: that’s why I’m reverting to the meta-essay this week as a change of pace from the singular focus of the past few weeks.

On Monday, my partner and I began to adapt to her night-shift schedule. On Tuesday, I took a life and held a lovely interview On Death. On Wednesday, I said goodbye to a clinic. On Thursday, I introduced some chaos into my sleep schedule so that I can begin my transition to night-shift this weekend. On Friday, I returned to a clinic and solidified a friendship with an attending physician. On Saturday, I had an 18hr shift scheduled from 12noon to 7a the following day and thankfully served a fraction of that time. On Sunday, I wrapped up this essay and will return to the hospital for an 8p to 7a overnight shift.

From each one of these days, easily enough material to write a healthy reflection without reaching for words to pad out the essay body. And maybe I’ll go back and cover that ground, especially with some more time to chew on these ideas. Events keep happening without regard for my ability to process and learn.

I don’t expect life to slow down anytime soon. At least, not for my sake. All I can do is everything I can to carve out the time to float, to be with friends, and to love my partner.


Long Form Sundays

On Death Podcast

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