I know I missed Thanksgiving, but I thought I’d post about why I’m grateful anyway, since I try to remember how lucky I am every single day. Since this blog is all about med school and BJJ, I figure I’ll focus on those.
Medical school. I didn’t always know I wanted to be a doctor; in fact, I really wanted to be a teacher and just the sight of blood used to make me cringe. In high school, however, one of my brothers hit my other brother (accidentally, of course) on the side of the head swinging a golf club. Let me tell you, there was plenty of blood. I held bandages to his head on the way to the ED and the rest is history. I fell in love, became an EMT and ended up as Chief of my college’s EMS department. I volunteered with fire departments and in hospital EDs and now I can’t imagine doing anything else. But let me tell you, the path to medical school isn’t easy. You are forced to give up a lot – Thursday nights out in college because you have a biochem test Friday, weekend outings to study for the MCAT, and time with friends to go to interviews. I would still choose the same path.
To be able to help someone when they are at their most vulnerable is an incredible feeling. Truthfully, it’s addicting. Knowing you are truly going to make a difference in people’s lives, and therefore make a difference in this world is a one-of-a-kind feeling. I will be the first to admit, that after a week or two with very little sleep, and 15 hour study days, I may not be the most grateful. But every morning I remember to take a minute to be thankful for this incredible journey.
As for BJJ, I genuinely think it found me, and has saved me. I know very few girls who are comfortable with their bodies or their abilities. On the mat, it doesn’t matter if you think you need to lose 5 pounds, or if you’re insecure about your strength. When you finally have that moment when you catch someone in an armbar or you escape a bad position, you get to be proud. You’re proud that you, a “little girl” can do something that could one day save your life. No matter how bad your day has been, when you step on the mat you get to wipe your slate clean for 2 hours. And that has been my saving grace this year. We med students tend to have lots of stress, so being able to forget about all that for 2 hours several days a week has kept me sane. But what I’m most grateful for is being a part of a team. Every training partner you have only wishes for you to get better. It’s a camaraderie and a friendship forged from love of a sport that truly changes your life. I feel incredibly blessed to have been accepted into that circle. BJJ is more than just a sport – it teaches you to respect yourself and others, and it forces you to live in the moment; you learn to appreciate what you can do and what you can accomplish.
I’m also grateful for my family, my friends, and the countless other blessings that I have in my life. There is something so incredible about the fact that I am so lucky to be both in medical school (my dream job), and BJJ (my dream way of life). To have goals and dreams is what makes life worth living. I will one day be a doctor. And I will also one day (fingers crossed) be a black belt. Two prestigious honors to one person. And that is something I am incredibly thankful for.
So every morning and evening, remember to be thankful for everything you’ve been given. And never take it for granted.