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Jane Doe, MD–My Mid-Life Career Sabbatical

Chapter 11:  Missed Milestones

By Jane Doe, MD

missed milestonesToday my son had his first interview for a job in his career.  I was not there to advise or assist or cheer.  I am here.

My daughter returned to college last week, a drive of greater than a thousand miles.  We arranged for my brother-in-law to go with her.  I was not at home to advise upon, to assist in or to observe the preparation.  I am here.

My husband was not there either; he is on a long planned trip with friends.

During my career I have missed many events, not been the first to the emergency room or not been immediately available to soothe a broken heart.  However, I was always around during the buildup and for the denouement.  In the loop as it were.  I was there.

Now I am out of it.

This is the natural way of things as children mature.   My own mother was mostly out of my loop by the time I was eighteen let alone twenty-one or twenty-four, the current ages of my children.  Still, I am afflicted, not with guilt but with sadness at not being a part of their milestone events by my own choice.   I can sacrifice my convenience to attend some scheduled events but the unscheduled events are impossible to attend from 250 miles away with a fellow’s schedule and lack of flexibility.

Being in the loop is something I gave up when I chose this fellowship and living apart from our family home for a year.  As always, the cost is less in the abstract than in the fact.

Jane Doe, MD is pursuing another year of fellowship training after having spent 20 years in a successful practice.  These are her thoughts and observations from an unusual “gap” year.


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