This post brought to mind my own continuing experience. I figured I'd share it here.
For the last year and a half it feels as though I've been one long roller coaster with optional forks that must be decided at break-neck speeds.
Choose one option, lose the other forever. Say one thing, negate more options. Make a choice and stick with it for a while only to discover that there are actually more choices than imagined and each one comes with a custom set of unique pros and cons. Throw in family, religious, and social opinion and it turns into quite the muddy cocktail of indecision.
So, that's me. Unable to decide because there are simply too many variables.
However, time's a tickn' and I've got to make some more choices, fast.
So, what are my options?
First off, I'm going to negate marriage and the stay at home mom dream. Mainly because there aren't any guys in the wings and any who may (but probably will not) appear will have to blindside me because I'm so not going there right now. Not that I wouldn't be opposed; I'm just being as realistic as possible. Fairy tales don't happen. Not to real people. I'm about as real as they come.
So, my two main goals in life are as follows:
Earn an MD behind my name.
Provide meaningful service in a third world country for an extended period of time.
How do I accomplish these goals?
The first one is fairly obvious: apply, attend, pass, and graduate from a medical school. Although it would be most beneficial to accomplish this goal fairly early in my life, I feel that there is no definite time line.
The second one is a little more tricky. Not only can it really be accomplished at any time during my (hopefully) long life, but I know that it will chance how I perceive the world. If I do it before med school, the experience would help me to (hopefully) get into a good school and also color the way in which I approach my education. If I do it after med school there will be bills to pay, but I will have more training and therefore a better chance of providing truly meaningful service. If I do both, then I see that as a win-win situation but it does put off med school. If I get into a med school before finding an opportunity for meaningful service, then I would certainly go to school first. However, I don't really anticipate getting into a school after my first round of applications.
Then, of course, there's the matter of what kind of service, where, and with whom shall I serve? I've considered literally dozens of options but two really seem plausible: Join the Peace Corps for 27 months or pay an NGO to take me for a few weeks. I could try to get on a research team, but you generally need to be a student to do that.
The third, hidden, option is to get my Master's in Public Health, work in the public health vector in third world nations, and then go to med school after many years of service.
I don't really like the third option. It simply doesn't flow with my perception of what my life ought to be about, however it is a very good option and could end up being the best one for me.
So, there you have it. Two tines of my current life fork. So many things all verging on a few seemingly simple options.
What will it be?
What major life forks have you come across and how have you managed to make the choice? Do you love or regret those choices?