Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Livin' the Dream

Note: In an effort to stick with the title, I'm attempting to be more daily with the blog

This year, a big year, I’ll turn 28. I’m not sure if that’s a milestone or not, but just about everything else in my life is. I finished school. At least, one leg of it. I’m now onto the part of school in which poor decisions affect myself and others. I received a title at the end of my name. Unfortunately, I have to use it to sign certain documents, and occasionally I forget what I’m signing, and sign a friendly letter, MD—to which I either look like a jerk or that I temporarily forgot that my first name starts with a B and not an M.

The biggest changes, however, involve how many documents I’ve signed that set myself up to owe somebody else a favor. You know that suitcase full of money that Lloyd and Harry turn into a suitcase full of IOUs in Dumb and Dumber. Well, I never had any money, but somehow I have a suitcase full of IOUs now.

I bought a house. Or that is to say, a few months ago, I walked into a building, signed a couple documents, actually received a check for a few thousand dollars, and obtained some keys to something owned by a corporation somewhere. However, I do have the right (or so it seems) to paint the inside and landscape the outside as I see fit. All I pay for this right is a check that automatically exits my savings account every month.

I replaced my aged 1998 Buick Century with a much more modern, but still thrifty, 2012 Ford Focus. And I’ll be honest, I love my new car. Or at least, I love the car that coincidentally the same bank that owns my house technically owns.

I’m not sure exactly who possesses my education rights, but I obtained a degree, and now all I have to do is pay back an exorbitant sum of money it took to finance the last eight* years of my education (*I suppose technically its nine, but I like to consider my freshman year at Michigan State a redshirt season. Unfortunately, it still counts financially). Either way, I have people in the hospital call me doctor, which believe me, is as unsettling to me as it could be. I have, however, resisted the urge to turn my head and look for someone more, say, bonafide.

And finally, I officially signed away my rights to make any sort of large scale decisions in my life between the years 2014-2018. I am officially locked in to serve in the United States Air Force. Technically, I suppose I’m a captain in reserves at present, but much like the piece of paper affirming my title as doctor, that makes me slightly uncomfortable.

The point of all this is to say that a mere three months ago, none of the aforementioned items were true. I was a care free medical student. Sure, I was tens of thousands of dollars in debt then too, but I’m sure I’ve at least quadrupled the amount since then, and the difference in perceived responsibility is mind numbing.

I was not aware that so many acute life changes could occur in such a short amount of time. The amazing thing is, that nothing really changes all that much. In truth, I enjoy my work and feel challenged but competent at it. I’m glad to serve my country in the future and look forward to honoring the commitment I made, as the Air Force assists me financially at present. The car and the house are nice, and help to ensure that I’m not worried about lodging/transportation at present.

In the brief pauses, however, the situation change kind of astounds me. The lyrics of Talking Heads, “You may ask yourself, how did I get here?” become strangely poignant. The answer is, I’m not really sure.

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