Actually, I remember my last day much better than I remember my wedding day….
My most vivid memory is of driving down the highway at about 9AM, after having slept in. My cap and gown were in the back seat. The sky was a deep, dark blue with these fabulous white, fluffy clouds just floating away up there. The sunshine warmed my face and left arm. Birds were singing. The wind was whipping through my hair. (The windows were rolled down because my car did not have air conditioning.)
I was struck at that moment with an incredible sense of freedom and peace and joy.
I had made it.
Everyone else was stuck at that very moment in the artificial, fluorescent climate controlled daylight in the hospitals on the last days of their various rotations.
I had taken the day off.
It was the only vacation time I allowed myself those whole four years. My last day of medical school. If I was not in class or in the hospital/clinics, I was working as a public school janitor, scraping chewing gum off of desks to earn a bit of extra cash to offset at least some of the staggering medical school debt I was accruing.
I turned up “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins and pushed the speedometer over the posted speed limit just to emphasize the point.
You can’t touch me anymore!
Little did I know, I would soon enter the dark abyss known as residency training and almost lose myself.
I have searched for that feeling, the moment of bliss that I found that day every day since. I have come very close to it, truth be told and I will let you in on a little secret to finding it: France. Being in France always helps….