I’m not sure where to begin, so I’ll just dive into the vulnerability pool. It’s been a whirlwind 6 days of emotionally epic proportions. Life has a freakishly maddening way of reminding you that you aren’t in control of anything…even a trip you’ve been planning for 6 months.
It’s safe to say that medical school is tough; perhaps even the toughest educational path to partake in and complete. Do not take that word ‘tough’ lightly. Med students possess only a shred of the stamina and dedication I could ever muster up even in my happiest, “This is my passion!” kind of moments. (Side note: My “This is my passion!” moments usually involve sipping a Mai Tai on a beach.)
There are certain sacrifices you make as a med student spouse that go completely unnoticed by nearly everyone. Silent rearrangements of plans. A casual protector for why he isn’t there or hasn’t called back. Living with the constant unknown of where the next year or two or four will take you. Pulling out your best motivational speeches even when you’re looking for some yourself. Wearing your game face in an atmosphere of constant underlying stress. Juggling multiple life goals, career paths and dreams while still trying still to find time to change the damn toilet roll. Lonely nights. Lonely weeks. Lonely holidays. Master ninja glasses taker-offer when he’s fallen asleep.
Med school tests your willingness to make sacrifices nearly every day.
Our trip will just have to be one of them. It’s just as simple and as sad as that.
Stress has a tendency to sneak up on you and remind you it was always simmering slowly anyway. Even if this trip had been in the works for about 6 months, you never know just how you’ll feel prior to departure. Without going into details, the rigors of med school essentially reared it’s ugly head. I found out last weekend just how much.
Balance is key. Hell, I think I’m funny as all get-out, (I mean, c’mon, I named my boobs Ginger and Spice in high school for God’s sake) but sometimes there isn’t as much of a need for humor in a situation like this as there is for a good ol’ regular schedule. While I’m pretty good at taking care of myself so I can be the best version of me possible, the pressure of med school is unyielding; often making it tough to be able to take necessary, healthy, healing breaks. The appropriate decision was to cancel the trip to encourage this regularly while studying, in a routine that wouldn’t be possible while traveling.
The hubster’s health, happiness and sanity matter more to me than any trip. Sure he’s my best and favorite travel partner. But sometimes you have to take off your (adorable) travel partner hat and be the life partner he needs.
Like I’ve mentioned here, planning this trip has been my refuge from stress. (I’ve cried in my work bathroom more times than I care to admit, so I don’t do it at home.) Perhaps excitingly planning this trip was my sanity check and kept me at a safe distance from the stress of witnessing the hardship of med school? Perhaps that was the only purpose it needed to serve? And, quite frankly, it served it well.
I’m slowly going through the process of canceling flights, hotels and tours and returning things to stores that we now won’t need. (I didn’t want those matronly looking white capri pants anyway…) There are frustrating rebooking fees associated with redepositing airline miles and points, not to mention the non-refundable things already paid for. I’ve become an expert at asking for a portion of the fees to be taken off, Delta for instance, was awesome. We had 5 flights booked, 3 of which were on award tickets. We won’t be reimbursed for the 2 we paid in cash, but the redeposit fees for our award tickets were significantly lower after a nice Silver Medallion Delta rep took the reigns to see what she could do. I’m currently investigating travel cancellation insurance we have, but we’ll see what, if anything, is covered.
But guess what? It’s just money. That’s it. Just money.
It’s not all sunshine and unicorns farting rainbows. I didn’t have this perspective immediately. I’ve had my moments in this whole deal. I actually said this week when we were talking about med school, “You know this isn’t easy for me either?!” I stomped my feet just like you’re imagining, too.
In the throes of seeing my husband dealing with more than I can imagine and knowing our trip was going to need to be canceled, I started making a mental list of the pros and cons of this present situation. Call it a coping mechanism or relics from therapists of the past – it works.
- I have a ton of unused PTO now
- I’ve been putting off going to the dermatologist, now I can go sooner
- Teen Mom 2 starts next week!
- I can focus getting more blogs written ahead of time
- We may be able to go on a shorter vacation
- I could do a solo travel trip before the end of the year that both excites and scares the living shit out of me
- I can practice and play with our new GoPro more
- I have an ungodly amount of unused miles and points now
- When we do end up going back to Southeast Asia (even years from now), I know exactly what to plan
- I lost 3 pounds from stress this past weekend. (I’ll take it. It’s a judgement-free zone here, folks.)
- Not spending quality time exploring with the hubster. To put it into perspective, I probably won’t be able to travel with him for longer than a weekend until at least July of 2016.
- Not seeing the temples of Bagan, Myanmar. I had dreams about quietly exploring that part of the world that hasn’t been totally ruined by tourism yet. By the time we go, it just may be.
- No lie-flat first class experience for us
- No delicious curries
- Being unable to shoot the videos I had pictured in my head. I even had a song chosen for the montage.
- Being immersed in totally different cultures and reveling in it.
- I still have to unpack because, of course, I already packed.
Traveling is an integral part of who I am; it feeds my soul. I will get a chance to feed that, it will just be at a later date and not the trip I had been planning. It may be a solo trip. It may be a long weekend with the hubster. It may be another girls trip to Europe. It may be 3-4 days on an island nearby named Cuba. Who knows? It just won’t be happening right at this very instance.
Life sometimes just won’t allow for it to be planned out 6 months ahead of time and that’s okay. Things will get better. This will eventually be a blip in the radar of life. Years from now, I’m sure we’ll look back at the end of the 3rd year of medical school and admire how we got through it. Smile at how close it brought us. Laugh at how trivial wanting a damn good dish of curry could be.
Now for a special shout-out to you guys, my readers. I know your life doesn’t revolve around our now canceled trip, but I know you would have enjoyed the posts and for that I’m sorry. I promise to continue to update my arsenal of posts from past travels and life anecdotes that I haven’t told you about yet.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need a Mai Tai and a beach.