To My Younger Self
I had the chance to see a lot of my family this weekend at a wedding, which included hearing several of my younger cousins talk about touring and applying for college. At one point, my uncle asked me if I would have chosen a different school in hindsight. I turn 30 next month and am now realizing that I have the years and experience required to provide advice to my younger family members. We discussed the pros and cons of multiple colleges my cousins were considering, but his question sparked a thought -- what would I tell my younger self, if I could? And not just about college, but about physical therapy in general?
I scanned through my old performance reviews as well as some of my older blog posts to remind myself of who I was five years ago. I found this blog about inconsistent schedules and motivation and chuckled as I read my own thoughts. I remember being caught up in the inconsistency of acute-care schedules and wondering how to best motivate my patients. I still contemplate motivating and engagement factors for the people I'm working with. I smiled at seeing "You have to expect the unexpected" written at the end -- I had the wisdom to know that fact but I'm not sure I fully understood it then, or even now.
I think if I could tell myself something, it would be to not worry as much and to recognize that even the most detailed plans are often not in your own control. Patient schedules, continuing education classes, residencies and career opportunities may not always happen as you expect or hope they might, and that's okay. I would tell myself that the people you surround yourself -- patients, colleagues, or personal -- are critical to helping you solve problems, develop yourself and make the day memorable. Finally, I'd tell myself to stop comparing myself to a standard or idea of how things should be. It is okay, and encouraged, to take risks and enjoy the road less traveled.
What about you? What would you tell your younger self, if you could?