Why did you get up this morning? Because your alarm went off? Because you felt rested (is that something people actually feel – asks the sleep-deprived medical student)? Because you had a job to do?
Well, I sure wasn’t rested after five hours of sleep. And the alarm . . . it woke me up, but waking up is very different than actually sliding off the covers and getting up out of bed. As for the job, it’s a passion, a constant, but it’s also a weekend.
So, why did I do it? Why did I get up?
The short answer: I don’t know. I saw the sunlight streaming out from behind the morning fog. I felt the crisp air of a new season and heard the laughter of a hospital worker at the coffee cart downstairs. I experienced life without even sitting up, and I was “tired as shit” (the language of choice when you are too tired to think articulately).
And then there is the long answer, the simple answer: because, what if?
Right now, I could rattle off a laundry list of tasks that I just don’t have time for. I could point to everything I want to do that I am not doing, everything that I need to accomplish that simply will not earn it’s “finished” check-mark on today’s assignment list. In medicine, especially, there is so much to learn that there is, naturally, so much left unlearned.
Under the overwhelming length of this list, I could very easily pull the cover back over my head and drift back to sleep – especially on a weekend. OR, I could . . . wait for it . . . just not do that.
Wait, what?! I could put all the overwhelming “issues” aside? Just like that?
Well, to answer my own, superfluous rhetorical questions, YES! We’ve all heard the notion that happiness is a choice, so I won’t drown you in more of the mundanely obvious. But, platitudes are commonplace for two reasons:
- We are too stubborn to let them go, and
- They offer valuable truth.
This platitude of happiness being a choice exists for the latter reason, in case you had any doubt.
Happiness is a choice, and so is getting out of bed.
This morning, I had a choice to feel overwhelmed by “life.” I had a choice to feel burdened and exhausted, a choice to sink into my inner eyelids in hiding.
Instead, I heard a man’s laughter, I saw the sun glisten across the marble bricks of Gordon Hall, and I wondered, “What if I focused on the good in this moment?”
I am at Harvard Medical School. I am here! And, I am not just here, but I AM DOING IT [learning, growing, thriving], alongside a group of the most kindhearted, inspiring, innovative people I’ve ever met. I am working with faculty who want nothing more than to guide us and our profession in a direction of progress. I am connecting with and caring for patients, and I am caffeinating with friends (like I said, there’s a coffee cart IMMEDIATELY below my window) as we contemplate parody music videos and prenatal cardiac surgeries. I could spend an hour in exhausted escape, OR I could change my mindset, get up out of bed, and experience the brilliance of everything around me.
You may not be in medical school, you may be 2,000 miles from Harvard, but that doesn’t change the fact that you are doing it, too! Doing what? That’s for you to decide. Caring for the kids, meeting patrons as a waiter, representing litigants in a court trial. On the weekend, you may be buying groceries, walking the dog, boating on the lake.
Now, when I do the laundry, I am not living and breathing my passion in life. It’s just detergent, after all. But, even in those Downy-soft moments*, there is reason for joy, laughter, and inspiration (in clean socks!).
Right now, I can say for a fact, WE ARE DOING IT. So what if, for another day, we get up and do it again? What if, for another day, we find those precious moments of joy and laughter, and let everything good that surrounds us lift us out of bed?
What if, today, we choose to be energetically happy?
And at 7:10 a.m., my fifth alarm went off, so by choice or by schedule, it was time to get up.
*This article not sponsored by Downy, go figure 😉
© 2016 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.