The Road Not Taken

I’m still here, I promise!! It has been a while, and I have just finished Reading Week (where I took a break from social media and tried to do some reading (here I am demonstrating such grown-up-ness and mature-ish use of the word reading to mean uni work thingies) (IRONY) (shan’t undermine your intelligence 😉 ) (ARE MY BRACKETS CONFUSING YOU YET) (read: actually start work after my 2++ month break) and reading (juggled The Luminaries, Beowulf and Bossypants). It was nice to get a break from lectures, and it also felt nice to get some proper work done. I’ve been hanging out lots more with old friends from Singapore, my awesome awesome flatmates and friends/course mates, doing things like movie nights/cooking together/pancake day(!!) or basically anything involving eating.

I know I haven’t written since January, and it’s not because I was having an extended Doubting Medicine period (those came in intense bursts that lasted 2 days max). If anything, (praise God!!) my conviction and commitment has grown for it? I also really thank Him for just bringing people into my life that have helped me settle in so much more in uni, and come to love it. My friends reassure me that it’s normal to find everything overwhelming, and that it’s good to maintain interests outside of medicine. It’s nice to know you’re not the only one who ‘really hates Science’ (in the words of P who would rather be a princess). My two closest coursemates/uni friends and I were comparing our SSC choices and found it amusing/testament to our ~*~~bond**~ that without discussing, our choices and preferences were really similar. So yes, (calm down parents, not dropping a ‘I wanna drop out’ bomb here) I was just lacking thoughts for a topic for a proper post, but as usual, this post has sort of shaped itself over the past few days and is totally different from what I planned to write.

I take the title of this post from the well-known poem by Robert Frost, and although not my favourite from him, (faithful friends here should know which is 😉 ) I feel it is one that so well encapsulates how I’ve felt recently about leaving Singapore/studying Medicine.

two-roads-diverged1

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,                                                                       And sorry I could not travel both                                                                                 And be one traveler, long I stood                                                                               And looked down one as far as I could                                                                     To where it bent in the undergrowth;” – Excerpt of The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost

How my life would have turned out had I not left for the UK in 2011 is something I’ve thought about from time to time. Life and all its possibilities and permutations can be a scary thing to think about. Most recently, I’ve wondered what life would be like had I chosen to go to another Sixth Form. I was in Croydon yesterday and was marvelling at how much I’ve changed and grown since going there and leaving there. “Everything changes and nothing remains still … and … you cannot step twice into the same stream” – Heraclitus

I look back on that very naive 17 year old girl with fondness and also ‘you really dumb’. The challenge is to not let our experiences harden us despite them hurting us? Eh, that’s a whole different topic for a whole different audience.

Another thing on my mind lately, is how/if my dynamics with God have changed. For a while, I felt like the child-like faith I’ve held on to had gone; if God was now a more intellectual thing, One Whom I’ve considered and believe to be true. I wondered if that was even necessarily a bad thing, or just part of growing up and relating to Him in a different way. But His word says “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 18:3). I was at Big Church Night In with Matt Redman and Christy Nockels last Sat, and Nockels talked about resting in Jesus, something I know God has been trying to tell me recently. She started by saying that He brought us all there that night for a specific reason. She shared a story of how last year God gave her a vision while she was leading worship, of herself as a 7 year old leading worship there. And she asked Him what He was trying to say, and He reminded her that she gave her life to Jesus when she was 7. And He asked her to just ‘be my daughter’. I GAVE MY LIFE TO GOD WHEN I WAS 7 TOO (like properly and consciously I guess, seeing as I was born into a Christian family). And it spoke to me because I knew He was also telling me, just rest, and be my daughter again. My dear friend Max also had a wonderful and encouraging testimony of child-like faith in asking God for a shooting star in a specific place at a specific time. So so cool.

One of my biggest doubts at 17 of wanting to do medicine was how fixed it would make my life. It meant the next 5-6 years of my life were decided, and then logically, another 5-7 years to specialise etc etc. Life is becoming more narrow and focused. From doing 8 subjects at O levels to 4 at A’s to the MBBS to specialising. Frost “Yet knowing how way leads to way/ I doubted if I should ever come back.” What I loved about being a kid was the openness of my life, the not knowing but imagining the endless options and possibilities. As I grew up, certain options fell (law? no thx.) away. I’m not saying that becoming a doctor means I absolutely cannot ever go and do something else, but it is just highly unlikely.

I was talking to C, and she asked me what I would choose to be if I could have any job in the world, where they all paid the same amount, and where they all had the same amount of prestige and status. My automatic response was something like ‘Nursery Teacher! Florist! Interior designer! CHEF!!!’ but after I thought about it further, it was more about what would satisfy my soul (lol cheesy much) and it  changed to ‘journalist who does features on different people groups’ or ‘someone who can help improve living standards/education access/healthcare/end human trafficking’ kinda thing. I realised that I didn’t really want a life where I wasn’t doing something to help people. (am I drawn towards helping people because I’m an INFJ or am I an INFJ because I’m drawn towards helping people? 😉 hmmmm)

“INFJs tend to do best in careers that involve a certain degree of personal touch and sensitivity – for instance, one of the typical INFJ career paths could lead to a religious institution. INFJs also tend to be excellent HR administrators, psychiatrists or doctors.

INFJs dislike routine tasks, strictly impersonal work or analysing small details. They are also very vulnerable to conflict and criticism. These traits mean that INFJs should avoid careers that typically focus on data rather than people or are prone to pressure and conflict, e.g. finance, audit, programming, data analysis etc. On the other hands, people with this personality type are very insightful and creative – they tend to be excellent architects, musicians, artists, photographers, designers etc. Best INFJ career paths revolve around these traits.

Regardless of the career path, INFJs always need to feel that their contribution is meaningful. They need something more than just money or recognition. People with this personality type feel happiest when they believe that their career is very much in line with their personal values and principles.” from this website. As P says, ‘INFJ SCREAMS Natassia’

I can still imagine (and dream about) doing other things, but I hope that “I shall be telling this with a sigh/ Somewhere ages and ages hence:/ Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—/ I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”.

There isn’t really a lesson to all this that I’ve learnt or am trying to teach, I think this is a lesson I am still learning as I journey through the years more. My prayer is that I look forward and focus on this life I have here, not the one I could have had, and that my Father opens the right doors and closes the wrong doors (even if it’s on people), and leads me down the (narrow) path that will lead to Him and happiness.

This post took a freaking 2 hours to write what even….. be glad I actually tried to make it more coherent than it is in my head… I hope to have a special guest post soon, but perhaps I might not check in till Easter!

Be good eggs,

N.

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One thought on “The Road Not Taken

  1. Beebs we can be the doctor-lawyer team that starts a rocking cafe ministry in the future. I’ll do the coffee, you take care of the flowers… Jesus is relevant to any and all professional qualifications and careers!

    The road at the top of the rise/
    Seems to come to an end/
    And take off into the distant skies.

    There’s some from a Frostie I really love 😉 the only way we’re headed is up :)))

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