Good morning, gentle readers.

If you play Farmville, or you’re easily offended, you should probably stop reading. I’m in a mood this morning, and so I’m somewhat more venomous than usual (which is saying something). Should you continue to read and get angry, however, I encourage you to take a picture of your outraged face and send it to me. I’m making a collage. I also realise that it’s perhaps somewhat of a faux pas to disappear for two years and then come back with a rant, but I suspect I’ll survive the shame. Besides, it’s this or study for the USMLE.

I’ve long been of the opinion that Facebook is, with the possible exception of MySpace, the most irrefutable proof of the stupidity that infests the majority of our species. I’m not just talking about the morons who post IN ALL CAPS or feel the need to truncate the word ‘you’. We’re talking the self-absorbed, criminally-stupid, indiscriminately-breeding, mouth-breathing genetic monstrosities that comprise a significant portion of the online social networking populace.
For your entertainment, I present an article. The article itself is of no importance, being a fairly boring opinion blurb on the merging of AOL and Facebook logins. What raises this article to greatness are the comments. You see, a quirk of Google’s search algorithm resulted in this particular article being in the top spot for the term ‘Facebook login’. Evidently a large number of the Farmville-playing crowd are confused by typing in addresses, and choose instead to type ‘Facebook login’ into Google, and then hit the I’m Feeling Lucky button…which brings them to the linked page.

Which isn’t Facebook.

And won’t let them log-in to Facebook.

Ladies and gentlemen, the future of the species:
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/facebook_wants_to_be_your_one_true_login.php

I know that most of you are doubtless curled up in a corner, rocking slowly back and forth wondering where I’ve been.  The answer, of course, is booze, women, and intense medical study.

In that order.

I’m currently studying for boards, after which I’m going to take a week to look back on the last…er, wow, has it really been that long?  Sorry about that.  Time flies when you’re drunk and surrounded by nubile young women whose only nod to decency is the strategic placement of pages from Goljan and First Aid.  But fear not, I have much to say about my experiences in medical school, and about my time in officer training in the Navy.

There will be advice.

We’re all familiar with the thousand-yard stare.  It’s that blank, dead-eyed expression assumed by those confronted with an excessively horrible reality.  Stunned into submission, the brain retreats into green pastures filled with ponies and rainbows, while the eyes are left transmitting their neuronal impulses into the cerebral equivalent of the waste basket.  I’ve seen this stare more than usual this week, and in two entirely disparate groups of people:  med students and patients.

As my colleagues and I proceed into the final two weeks of our anatomy course (and by “proceed” I do of course mean that we’re desperately blowing air into our water-wings while staring in wide-eyed terror at the tidal wave of information crashing down all around us), the strain is starting to show on some folks.  Our first exam wasn’t terrible.  Certainly it was challenging, but the giddy feeling of taking our first medical school exam mitigated somewhat the abject terror of failure.  After our second exam, however, the giddy feeling wasn’t around to provide soft, cushiony succour in our time of need.  The written exam, as with the previous exam, was tough but reasonable.  The lab portion of the exam, however, was bloody ridiculous.  Imagine a small piece of string tied to a pin, which is in turn sticking into a tiny, brown squiggly thing in the middle of a mass of other tiny, brown squiggly things.  Name that squiggly thing.

The expressions on our faces as we left the lab-exam were doubtless those that would be seen on the faces of our nation’s top generals if they’d just been told that the country had been invaded while everyone was on a coffee break–a strange mix of disbelief, anguish, and the faint hope that the alarm clock is going to ring any moment now.  After years of effortlessly sailing through the rarified air of academic achievement, we had well and truly felt the wax melt from our wings.  But you know, just as I was beginning to feel sorry for myself, I met some other folks who gave me a little bit of perspective.

I’m doing a Geriatrics elective this term.  I’m not going to lie and say that I’m doing it because I believe that old people are the future of medicine (they are), that I’m inspired by the elderly (I’m not), or that I’m filled with compassion (stop laughing).  Truthfully, I did it because military medicine is for better or worse my milieu right now, and the elective has me working with veterans in the VA system.  I’m sure I’ll post some HIPAA-approved impressions of this elective and my patients as time goes on, but I wanted to talk about the thousand-yard stare I saw on a few of the old guys as we rounded.

I’m going to let you guys in on a little secret.  Gather around, and let’s bond:  I’m terrified of getting so old and decrepit that I’m at the mercy of others.  It’s not just because I’m a bastard by nature and I’m scared that everyone I’ve annoyed throughout my lifetime would surround me and beat me to death with their walkers.  No, it’s a terror of becoming what I saw in the hospital the other day: an old guy lying in bed, pierced with tubes, staring dully at the ceiling as the beeping of machinery and the whir of fans provide a souless accompaniment to the EKG lines dancing on the monitor; the warm-up act before the Reaper arrives.

It kills me that medicine has come to this, and you’d better believe that I’ll be posting more about it.  As I look at these people, dying slowly with no friends or family present, I just want to put my hand on their shoulder and give them some human contact.  You’re not passing unnoticed, dammit, because I’m going to notice.  And sure, doubtless it’s stupid, futile, or naive, and maybe the experienced docs are rolling their eyes, but I just don’t think it’s right that our old veterans are passing this way.  Perhaps even the patient is beyond caring, but I’d just like them to know that their service hasn’t been forgotten, that their passing isn’t unmourned, and that as they lie there on the hospital bed, a military officer is passing by and gives a damn.

So yeah, a poor exam score doesn’t seem so bad right now.

The start of medical school is a somewhat surreal experience.  You work so hard to get there, and then you find yourself standing on a stage wearing a white coat while someone puts a stethoscope around your neck, and you can’t help but feel that somewhere someone has made a terrible mistake.  Looking at the sea of smiling faces watching you, the stethoscope newly slung around your neck feels weighted with responsibility, and you wonder if you’re entirely up to the task.  At least, that’s what some people have told me it felt like.  Personally, I just heard an angel choir, and had to be led from the stage as I stood there yelling “I have arrived!”  Odd how things strike people differently.

I have quickly discovered that medical school is like a hard candy, into which a certain group of people are busily and relentlessly trying to drive a soft, chewy centre.  They didn’t quite ask us to hold hands and sing healing songs together, but the gleam in their eyes suggests that they’ve got the necessary supplies to do so if called upon.  I can see how some folks would believe that this sort of stuff will lead to more humanistic doctors, but evidently they don’t understand that by piling it on so thickly, they’re turning even the most soft-hearted, heal-the-world idealist in our class into a chain-smoking cynic.

For example, take this one course called “The Cadaver as your First Patient”.  The aim of the course is to get us to think of our cadaver as a person, rather than just a collection of parts.  I’ve got mixed feelings about this, as I firmly believe that what’s laid out in front of us is just a collection of parts; the light of intellect that was the person is long-gone, and what remains is the machine that served as its life-support system.  I’ve got a lot of respect for the folks who donate their bodies to serve science and/or medicine, as it strikes me as one last constructive act at the end of an all-too-brief stay on this planet.  I also believe that a baseline level of respect toward the remains is appropriate, because it’s a pretty cool gift.  But I’m not going to hug my cadaver, and it sure as hell isn’t my first patient.

The odd thing is that if they’d entitled the class something along the lines of “Cadaver as your teacher” I’d have been fine with it.  Yeah, I’m learning a lot from the machine laid out in front of me, and I’ll let myself get emotionally invested enough out of respect to call it a “teacher” intead of a “teaching tool”, but that’s as far as I go.  In my mind, the doctor-patient relationship is pretty damned special, and even though it’s been eroded, warped, and corrupted by companies answering to shareholders rather than the patients, what remains is still staggeringly awesome.  By trying to take that awesomeness and pretend that it applies to what is happening in the cadaver lab is both insulting to the students and cheapens the doctor-patient relationship.

I’ve never talked to the guy whose body is laid in front of me.  He never confided in me, sharing his worries about his health or the health of his family.  I don’t lay awake at night considering his condition, nor do I muse in the daytime about his lab-values, or the outcome of a procedure.  To be someone’s doctor is to be trusted by them in a way that few people trust others, and I never earned that trust.  I’m not, and can never be my guy’s doctor.  He can never be my patient.

So yeah, I’m really not down with the whole “first patient” thing.  Meeting some family members of those who donated their bodies was touching, and I went out of my way to give them a handshake and a sincere “thank-you” for sharing their stories.  I yield to no-one in my respect for the donators, and it’s because of this that I get so irritated with the emotionalists trying to turn a cool teaching experience into a sob-fest.  Sure, you guys got some med-students and family members to cry, and you tore down some defense-mechanisms that people were using to deal with the fact that we’re cutting humans apart, but what did you really accomplish?  Did you really think that we had forgotten that the corpses in front of us were living, breathing, loving, dreaming humans at some point?  Did you think that we never wondered what our cadaver’s name had been, where he’d lived, what he’d done?  Did you miss the rush to the paper listing our cadaver’s age and the cause of death, the only information we’re allowed?

We didn’t need to be reminded that we’re dealing with humans, with people.  I haven’t spoken to a single person yet who has anything disrespectful to say about our dead folks in the lab.  And if we’re laughing a little more in lab, if the mood is more relaxed than it was when we first arrived, don’t think that it’s because we’ve forgotten that the cadavers on the humidors were once people.  Instead, understand that it’s a relaxation born of familiarity and that rather than breeding contempt, it has allowed us to take possession of our cadaver as the ninth member of our team.  That he is our teacher–not our patient–and we’re now learning from him, rather than viewing him from a distance.

After all, we spend a lot of time here.  More time than our friends and family see us.  We’re living with the Dead, and the Dead are our teachers.

A very odd transition, the start of med school, and the strident claims of Comcast that my apartment complex doesn’t exist all conspired to deprive me of internet access for some time.  You, deprived of my scathing wit, have doubtless fallen into a deep depression.  Fear not, I’ll be posting some stuff here in the next week concerning my initial foray into medical school.  I’ll also get around to finishing my pre-med guide, assuming I receive a steady supply of booze, food, and naked pictures from my female readers.

So I finally got around to watching the episodes of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.  I’d heard about it a week ago, but only the incipient demise of the free streaming version (tonight) was enough to overcome my innate procrastinator.  It is, to put it bluntly, pure genius.  I like Whedon’s stuff anyway, but this was awesomeness on a stick.  That it co-starred Felicia Day (with whom I’m totally in love) made it that much sweeter.

I hope you watched this production, minions.  Now, you must go and purchase it.  Right now.  While I watch.

Except you, Felicia.  You and I should be getting ready for our date.

Getting Started (the Freshman and Sophomore years)

Tell me the Basics

Right then. Now that we’ve scared off the weak, let’s get into the foundational stuff. This part is for Freshman and Sophomore pre-meds; if you’re a non-traditional student (e.g. military veteran, second-career, have ever said “get off my lawn”) then bugger off to the section entitled Non-Trads. You’ve got your own set of problems I’ll discuss, but this bit is for the people who are only now just discovering the joys of waking up drunk next to strangers.

If there’s going to be a time in their life that pre-meds repent (assuming they remember them), it’s almost without exception going to be their early undergrad years. Plunged into a new academic environment in which no one apparently cares if you show up to class, and everyone is drunk, naked, and dancing on a regular basis, it’s fall-on-your-face easy to have a good time and let the grades fall where they may. While this is doubtless a sound plan if you’re say, a philosophy major, it’s absolute murder on a pre-med’s prospects.

If you’re reading this late in your Freshman year or sometime during your Sophomore year and you already have a few party-fueled “C” grades on your transcript, don’t despair. Despite such grades causing frowny faces for some AdComs, most will understand that the first year of college is one of experimentation and will tend to look more leniently on poor grades in your Freshman year than they will on such grades in your Junior and Senior years. So, if you’re going to be a screw-up, earlier is better than later.

Should you have poor grades early on, it’s absolutely vital that you demonstrate improvement. Pulling a few “C” grades early on, followed by “B” and “A” grades as you progress onward is a sign of growing maturity, and will be viewed as such by AdComs. Of course, ideally you want to have good grades all the way through, but a “C” here and there won’t kill you (and shouldn’t make you want to kill yourself).

Does GPA matter?

Of course it does. Your GPA is second only to the many-headed beast called MCAT in the eyes of most medical schools. Medical schools (via AMCAS and AACOMAS, which are application services I’ll talk about later) see your GPA broken down into two numbers: your overall undergraduate GPA (uGPA), which includes everything, and your BCPM GPA, which is your GPA for your Math, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics classes. They do this because they want to make sure that your high uGPA isn’t full of touchy-feely easy-“A” classes masking an abysmal performance in science and math. If touchy-feely classes do it for you, that’s cool, but you need to do well in your science classes too.

Okay, so what classes do I take?

Well, mostly you can take whatever you like, as long as you get a Bachelor’s degree. There are some universally mandatory courses though, which I’ll get to in a moment. We should be very clear here: you can take whatever classes you want. There is no magical degree for medical school, and lunging toward a Biology, Chemistry, or Bio/Chem double-major isn’t going to impress anyone. Now that you’ve read this, don’t act all shocked if you decide to do it anyway and find yourself one of a teeming mass of Bio/Chem double-majors applying for medical school. It certainly won’t hurt you to have such a degree (except that you won’t stand out very much) but it won’t be as earth-shatteringly awesome as you hope, either.

The best advice is for you to take, in addition to the required courses, something that interests you. Me, I like aircraft, so I got a degree in Aeronautics. It was a talking point at interviews and definitely didn’t hurt my application. So if you’re fascinated by Politics, consumed by Philosophy, or delight in the creative arts, then by all means earn a degree in what you enjoy. Medical schools are increasingly looking for well-rounded individuals (i.e. not the pre-med zombie of yore) and more schools are doing the happy dance for non-science majors than ever before. The MCAT and BCPM will prove your scientific chops, so no worries there, and you’ll be an attractive candidate with a proven range of interests. Also consider the idea of mixing it up, such as getting a Chemistry degree with a minor in Philosophy.

What if I’m at a Community College?

The blunt answer is that you need to get into a four-year institution at the first possible opportunity. Sure, you can definitely have some courses from a community college, or even an Associate’s Degree from one, but medical school AdComs tend to get sad faces when prerequisite courses are taken at a two-year school. Don’t freak out, little friends, it’s not the end of the world if you went to Community College for a while (I did) but you’ll need to earn a four-year degree anyway and four-year schools usually have more rigorous science courses (hence the preference by AdComs).

What if I attended a bunch of different schools?

Meh, no worries. It’ll be annoying when you apply, as you’ll have to send a transcript in from every school, but as long as you get a Bachelor’s Degree from some accredited four-year institution, you’ll be fine.

So what are the required courses?

The prerequisite courses for medical schools are identical for a core group of courses, with some schools requiring additional courses. The gold standard for finding out what schools require what courses is a book entitled Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR). The MSAR is available at most bookstores (including the online ones) and libraries, and is an awesome resource. Browsing a copy during your early undergrad career is a good idea for planning out your academic schedule, especially if you’re already prancing around telling people you’re going to Hopkins or Stanford (incidentally, stop that). These schools have additional requirements you’ll need to plan for in order to apply.

The basic courses are:

General Chemistry with Lab – Two Semesters
Organic Chemistry with Lab – Two Semesters
General Biology with Lab – Two Semesters
Physics (Algebra- or Calculus-based) – Two Semesters
English – Two Semesters
Mathematics (College Algebra or higher) – Two Semesters

Lots of schools have additional requirements and most recommend (not require!) additional courses. Hopkins, for example, requires two semesters of Calculus, while the University of Colorado requires three semesters of English. Many schools require or recommend Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Information Technology, Genetics, and other such courses. The MSAR is the go-to resource for this information, and you should stick your nose in it anytime you’re planning your courses.

Can I leave all those courses until last?

Yes, but only if you’re an idiot, or if you have absolutely no choice in the matter. Ideally, get right into the sciences your Freshman year, taking General Chemistry and Biology. This will get you nicely prepared to take Organic Chemistry in your Sophomore year. Many science courses, especially Organic Chemistry, are extremely time-consuming and require a lot of effort to ensure an “A”. If you try to cram all of your difficult courses in at the end of your degree, you’ll screw up studying for the MCAT and find yourself exhausted.

If you’re already in your Sophomore year and you’ve avoided taking any science courses so far, jump right in immediately, especially on the Chemistry courses. Don’t dress in sackcloth and smear ashes on your face just yet, but realize that you really need to stay on top of your science courses, because they can bite you if you neglect them. By taking care of your science prerequisites at a steady pace, you’ll put yourself on a nice trajectory to finish everything and be well prepared for your MCAT and Application without burning out in the process.

Nice. So, do you have any other advice for Freshmen/Sophomores?

Of course I do, I’m not just a pretty face here.

The first and most important bit of advice here is to stay healthy. I’m not just talking about physically (although hitting the gym once in a while is definitely a good idea), but also mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually healthy. Undergrad is a challenging time in many ways, and it’s going to be harder on you because of your medical aspirations. Studying is important, but make sure you maintain friendships and family ties, keep up on hobbies and sports, and take some time for quiet reflection once in a while. You’ll be healthier for it, and your performance will be better. This stuff is the key to avoiding burnout, so neglect this advice at your peril.

Consider finding a mentor, preferably a pre-med in their senior year or a professor familiar with the pre-med process. Never underestimate the value of having someone who knows what lies ahead on your path, and what pitfalls are along the way. You don’t have time to make every mistake yourself, so learn from the experiences of others! In time, you’ll serve this role for someone else, perhaps.

Look into joining the campus Pre-Med group. Sure, some of the people will so self-absorbed that if they were any more self-centered they’d implode and turn into a black hole, but there will also be some awesome people in there too. It’s likely you’ll find some folks who are at the same point in their education that you are, and perhaps you’ll make some friends to share your undergrad pre-med journey. Such groups are also great places to find mentors, and the meetings will often have speakers or subjects of interest to you.

Develop good academic habits. If you’re struggling in a subject, ask for help. Don’t flail about expecting someone to run to your rescue; you’re a college student now and responsibility for your grades rests entirely on your shoulders. If your school has a tutoring center, use it. If your current study habits aren’t working, examine ways of changing them. Adaptability is vital for academic success.

Finally, keep your eyes on your goal. You’re going to have some rough times ahead, but try to keep it in perspective. Sure, that Chemistry exam is scary, but it beats the crap out of struggling to stay alive in some third-world hellhole.

Welcome

The intent of this guide is, as the title suggests, to help you maintain as much of your sanity as possible as you navigate the path to medical school. Some of you reading this are already be in the process of applying to medical school, while others are still lying on the couch trying to decide if pursuing medicine is a good option. Possibly a few of you are actually in medical school and are reading this when you should be studying some esoteric factoid for the boards. Get back to work!

Regardless of your status, though, one thing is true for everyone reading this: the path ahead of you has been well-trodden by those who have come before. This guide will be broken into a number of sections, with the early parts aimed at new pre-meds, and the later parts focused on information useful to applicants. Cynicism will be aimed at everyone. Everything here has come directly from the experiences, problems, successes, and failures of your fellow travelers who share their hard-won knowledge in the hope of smoothing the path for those who follow.

Good luck to you.

In the Beginning, there was…

…uncertainty. The decision to pursue medicine is a highly personal one, and people’s reasons for doing so vary from the mundane to the spectacularly improbable. For example, some will tell you that it’s something they’ve wanted to do since they were fetus. Holding a tiny hammer in one hand and a stethoscope in the other, they toddled around some third-world country with their parents, building houses and providing top-notch medical care to the local people as a way to pass the time until they could get into medical school. These are the same people who will throw themselves off of a high building at the prospect of getting a “B”. More on those later.

For those of us though who spent our childhood being childish, our desire to pursue medicine likely stems from a complex mixture of our life experiences, intellectual curiosity, compassion, mature introspection, and a predilection for white coats. Television shows featuring stupendously attractive doctors who drive nice cars, have great apartments, and spend their time saving lives in-between torrid love affairs have, of course, absolutely nothing to do with it. I’m glad we got that straight.

The upshot of all this is that your reasons for wanting to go into medicine will be unique to your in some ways and utterly predictable in others. Doubtless you want to “help people,” “make a difference,” and “earn staggering amounts of cash…no, wait, I mean serve others.” Inspired by the suffering of your sick relative, you intend to become a doctor and cure the world.

Annoyingly, these are all excellent reasons for going into medicine that are so clichéd at this point that no one besides your mother will believe a word of it. You’re going to have to dig deeper, and find out what really drives you. What will keep you forging ahead when everything else has run out? When you’re studying while others are partying, when you’re facing at least another decade of education, when you’re so tired you just want to curl up and cry, what will be at the core of you? Don’t frown though; there’s a silver lining! This is excellent practice for your AMCAS application, wherein you’ll bare your soul to a group of people so jaded the air around them has a greenish tinge: the Admissions Committees (AdComs).

While you’re chewing on that, I’ll get started on the concrete stuff.

Okay, after a fairly impressive number of requests, I decided that I’d start writing a guide for confused Pre-Meds and Medical School Applicants. I’m still in the process of writing it, but I thought I’d post sections of it as I went along. There may be some cynicism.

The Damned

Once upon a time, in a land far away, I played a text-based adventure game.  Younger readers should understand that we engaged in such activities between riding dinosaurs and banging rocks together to communicate with distant communities.  In this game, there was a phrase that appeared with a frequency evidently designed to unhitch even the soundest mind from its moorings: “you are surrounded by many passages, all alike.  N, E, S, W?”  With the aid of graph paper, it was possible to sketch out the labyrinthine nightmare which one sought to navigate, stopping only when it became clear that the sketch actually culminated in a satanic rune which, upon completion, would suck the player’s soul screaming into the abyss.

Suburbia is much like that.

I’m convinced that if one drew out the many twisting roads, cul-de-sacs, and parks on a piece of parchment using an appropriate medium–say, the blood of virgins–it would reveal unto humanity the dark language in which the Damned will sing the song that ends the world.  Never have I been so cognisant of the swirling mass of mediocrity that inhabits these wood-and-plastic dwellings as I was when I chose to walk through such an area some days ago.   When the Damned sing their song, it will be to the refrains of minivan honks, ESPN commentary, the sobs of alcoholic wives, and the crystalline tinkle of shattered dreams.  Too harsh, you feel?

Know Your Role

Our society is sick.

More and more, I notice that people seem unable to break beyond the traditional roles and boundaries of society.  People have roles, we’re told, and to not fit into that nice little package is to be strange, untrustworthy, immature, or deviant.

Are you thirty and want to dye your hair some interesting colour?  You’re immature!   Grow up, and stop pretending you’re a kid.  Like animated movies?  Those are for children!  Don’t want children?  You’re selfish!  After all, everyone knows that the key to happiness is a house in the suburbs with a large mortgage, two or three children, and a steady 9-5 job that pays the bills.  Ignore that hollow gnawing inside as what’s left of your soul begs for the final mercy of a bullet’s oblivion; that’s just what it is to be a grown-up!

Bullshit.

There’s an excellent comic over at xkcd.org that rather eloquently supports my point: we should get to decide what adulthood is, not the people who come before.  Each generation has its own identity, and each generation before it tries to smash the newer generation into a shape that fits the prejudices of the old.  For some reason, the Boomer generation (which, as you all know, I hold in the highest esteem) has decided that their youthful activities were folly and happiness lies only in the most rigid conformity.  This is a lesson they have passed on to my generation, who are paying the price for so pestilent an idea.

Witness the endless sea of over-priced identical houses writhing through what was pristine farmland or wildland.  The curves, ostensibly to create a feeling of neighbourhood, are utterly wasted on individuals who gaze mindlessly out of their air-conditioned SUVs, ferrying their offspring to mandatory piano lessons and sporting activities.  There’s no sense of community, because a community requires individuals and everyone who lives there is a goddamned robot.  This is not a community, it’s a hive-mind.

A Young Boy’s Tale

Watch carefully as the little boy tries to run around, shout, and revel in his juvenile masculinity.  Once, he would have grown up and had his exuberance tempered by life experience and the responsibilities of manhood.  Despite this, he would have been a man and all that entails.  Today, he is drugged into oblivion.

Tired from working incessantly to afford the empty paraphenalia of a materialistic existance, his parents have no energy to deal with his antics.  Hoping to raise his grades upon which rests the desperate hope that vicarious success through their son (look how far little Timmy went!) will silence the bleak emptiness of their own failures, they drag him to whatever physician will diagnose ADHD.  Drugged into a compliant stupour, the spark of creativity and zest for life lost, the child will doubtless grow into the next generation of people who believe that a quiet life and fitting-in are appropriate long-term goals.

Or Not

What the hell happened?  When did we decide to surrender our individuality?  Sure, living in a community requires a bit of compromise here and there, but why the hell are you so threatened by the guy with green hair?  Why do you feel the need to scoff at someone being “so different”?  Is it really so scary that a young woman has no desire to have children, instead choosing to travel the world and work in a global effort for some cause?  Why is “childless” an acceptable term, but you get so pissed off at “childfree“?  Why does dancing in public embarrass you?  Why are you so afraid of others witnessing you taking an almost childlike joy in something?

You don’t really need that SUV.  Let’s face it, that thing will never leave hard pavement and the snowy days you invariably bring up are, what, a few times a year?  Odd, most non-SUVs seem to do just fine on those days.  Did you really need that big of a house, crippling yourself financially?  How is that adjustable-rate mortgage working out for you?

What about your dreams?  What happened to them?  That thing you always imagined yourself doing, why aren’t you pursuing it?  Having kids isn’t an excuse; it’s not a social duty and you won’t always be at their beck and call.

Go Be Magnificent

Our lives are so ridiculously short that it’s a tragedy to not make the most of them.  Stop being safe, secure, and mundane.  Take a risk: do something scary, or new, or thrilling.  Screw getting that new giant TV; use the money to visit somewhere you’ve never been, invent something new, or fund something beautiful.  Compose a song or poem, and then go perform it in your local park.  Get out of the damned vehicle and try walking to the store, even if it’s miles away.  Wear daring clothes, walk along walls, and make those around you laugh just for the hell of it.

You’re beautiful, passionate, and bursting with potential.

Sod the Damned, go sing the song that moves the world.

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