I celebrated my birthday last month, which prompted me to reflect on the past year-plus. A year and a half ago, as we were just getting introduced to Scott's cancer, I remember someone commenting that one day we'd be able to look back on this "year from hell." At the time, the comment struck me as unfounded. Granted I didn't know what was coming, and I still had a lot of hope that Scott would survive. But even when I considered worst-case scenarios, it didn't seem possible that the entire year would be one from hell. Now, looking back, my 33rd year was by turns tragic and stressful and painful and mentally and emotionally exhausting. But it was not bad. In part, the hard times were balanced by profoundly good times. I am so thankful for our trip to Hawaii; it stands out in my memory as a haven from everything else that was going on. We were so taken by the place - the beaches, jungles, volcanoes, sunsets - that we were able to stay very much in the present moment, enjoying each others' company. And, of course, I am so thankful for the incredible love of our community. I've written about that often, and it cannot be underestimated.But the hard times were also intrinsically valuable.
I was talking to a neighbor a few weeks ago, one I hadn't seen in several months, so I had to tell her about Scott's passing. I hurriedly went on to tell her that we're doing okay, that I have wonderful on-the-ground support from my classmates and administrators, neighbors, friends, family, etc. etc.
"Yeah," she interrupted me, "But it sucks."
"Yeah," I said.
I don't mean to gloss over the hard parts. I'd absolutely revert back to Plan A if I could. But Plan B isn't bad. My 33rd year was by no means my worst year. It was my most important year.
Right now, things are going smoothly. I finally completed one of the classes that I took an incomplete in last year, and I'm almost done with the other one. In the next few months I'll study for and take the Step I Boards. The score plays a large role in making you a competitive residency applicant, so it's something that one can, theoretically, stress about. I'm sure I will, but I'm not yet. I'm enjoying the day-to-day. Today is Saturday, and we're off to the zoo shortly.