Monday, October 12, 2009

Childhood Dreams And The Reality of Adulthood

I haven't seen your face around
Since I was a kid
You're bringing back those memories
Of the things that we did
You're hangin round
And climbing trees
Pretending to fly
D'Yer wanna be a spaceman
And live in the sky

- D'Yer wanna be a spaceman, By Oasis, 1994.

I had a long chat with a colleague yesterday, someone I do not meet regularly or even call up occasionally.

We went through housemanship together where we endured the nags and outbursts so commonplace in obstetrics and gynaecology.

Our paths had hardly crossed since then.

Life is such that there will be those whom we meet everyday but find little in common, and then there are those whom we meet once in ages and still realize we have much that we share in thoughts and views.

“POTS, do you realize that the more we progress in our medical career, the less option we seem to have?” he said.

His statement reminded me of the 1994 hit song by the now-defunct rock band Oasis.

It was also a stark reminder of how far I and We and probably most of us have strayed from our original passion and childhood dreams.

At the height of my STPM exams, I kneeled and prayed and ask God for a shot in medical school.

The enthusiasm of doing missionary work in wretched nations torn by war and strife was burning within me then.

In the final years of medical school, I made grandiose plans to sit for the USMLE, PLAB or AMC exam, or all of them, hoping to make groundbreaking contributions in healthcare and medicine.

Now all I want to do is to make money and provide a comfortable life for my family.

You got how many bills to pay
And how many kids
And you forgot about
The things that we did
The town where we're living
Has made you a man
And all of your dreams
Are washed away in the sand

- D'Yer wanna be a spaceman, 2nd verse, Oasis, 1994.

I looked through some old photo albums of the family not too long ago.

At age 16, my dear father cycled from Batu Gajah to Sitiawan as part of his criteria of attaining the King Scout award.

Last year at age 60, he spent Christmas playing Solitaire on his desktop.

I am sure he has dreams and wishes somewhere deep within him but if he had any, he isn’t expressing them.

I wish he would, because I would do anything to see them come true.

My sister the high achiever can achieve anything she put her heart and mind into.

Somewhere between graduating summa cum laude from university, one rocky marriage and a few tyrant bosses, her dreams of revolutionizing the Malaysian healthcare system from within the system went up in flames.

Out of civil service and with two young children now, she’s content just being a responsible mother and peace-making wife.

Well it's alright
It's alright
Who are you and me to say
What's wrong and what's right
Do you still feel like me
We sit down here
And we shall see
We can talk
And find common ground
And we can just forget
About feeling down
We can just forget
About life in this town.

- D'Yer wanna be a spaceman, Chorus, Oasis, 1994.

My friend from secondary school days, Lee had this to message me the other day:
“Sometimes I feel like giving up on job, God, girl and all.”

It was a message one would never have expected from him, a person more fondly remembered to be the life of the party and a genius in his own rights.

These days, Lee sends me hollow, single-worded replies in SMSes.

I still think he’d one day be a successful paediatrician, but for now he is another dejected soul guessing over the life that could have been if he had left for Singapore after STPM.

It's funny how your dreams

Change as you're growing old
You don't wanna be no spaceman
You just want the gold
All the dream stealers
Are lying in wait
But if you wanna be a spaceman
It's still not too late

- D'Yer wanna be a spaceman, Final Verse, Oasis, 1994.

Someone very dear to me has all but given up her dreams of cruising the open seas and opening a kindergarten.

She spent a large period of her youth caring for an ill mother, and thereafter poured in a tremendous amount of effort rehabilitating patients incapacitate by stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.

Now stricken by endometriosis, she’s spending a great sum just trying to get pregnant.

Her self image has taken a blow, especially when she’s surrounded by baby-bloomers who seem to reproduce so very effortlessly.

Is this what life does to us as we grow up and age?

Maybe this all is all God’s plans – personal tragedies, familial diseases and financial struggles.

If it is, should I then abide by it or swim against the flow just as I have done my whole life?

Well it's alright
And It's alright
Who are you and me to say
What's wrong and what's right
Do you still feel like me
We sit down here
And we shall see
We can talk
And find common ground
And we can just forget
About feeling down
We can just forget
About life in this town.

- D'Yer wanna be a spaceman, Oasis, 1994.


Anonymous said...

It's not easy to achieve your dreams but one has to keep on pressing and maybe consider alternatives tt one may not have thought about as a teenager. Meanwhile, enjoy the ride. ;-)

Anesth MO said...

I have no difficulty agreeing with you.

In med school, I can say with a straight face that my ambition was to help people. I was not looking to be rich, just want to have the opportunity to help the less fortunate.

After getting married, the priorities changed. I promised my wife to provide her with a life of comfort. Something unlikely to happen with the pittance the govt is paying us. So, now I'm just looking for opportunities to make money to fulfill my promise to my loved ones.

cjwayn said...

that's all so true... POTS, u've spoken out something that was lying so deep within me... i can feel the resonance while reading this article.. It starts to make me think now..

Although its not something that might change my life.. But at least its something that triggers me to start thinking back..

Gan said...

POTS ... I know money is important in life but I think it's not everything.

I thought I would like to share this with you which I think is meaningful ie you can still achieve your heart's desire without sacrificing quality of life ie you need to define the level you deem acceptable quality.

Gwen Nyhus Stewart said that "Voluntary Simplicity is the term used to describe a process whereby people opt out of the hurried life of modern living and choose to live a life of frugality. Frugality in this sense doesn't mean poverty. Rather, it means, enjoying the virtue of getting good value out of every minute of your life's energy and from everything you have the use of."

FCH said...

dear friend,

Many of us are probably near breaking point.
The housemen, my specialist, us.
Yet, we are still holding on, doing what we are supposed to do. Yet to give up. I have even signed up for my next part of exam. And applied for transfer to be nearer the girl i want to marry.
Very funny, considering...i have thought of giving it all up.

I am trying to tell myself, there are two ways to go about it - either turn right or turn left, cannot sit on the fence. At this time, I will turn right, and stay on the course i have chosen - God, girl and job.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post - it serves as a reminder. May we be reminded of purposeful living for Christ every day.