Thursday, July 26, 2012

Living in the future

339 days til residency is over.

That's the first time I've actually counted how much time we have left in residency.  I can't even calculate a number for how much longer I have til I'm done with my PhD.  It gives me too much anxiety to not have an exact graduation date.

339 days feels like such a long time, but it's not really when I think about how far Jeff and I have come since moving to New Orleans the summer before his intern year.  For some reason I feel like this last year will be extra slow and as torturous as possible though.

We've started reading a book called The Medical Marriage by Wayne and Mary Sotile.  We'll read a chapter together on the weekends or whenever we have time.  I know this is incredibly cheesy, but so far it's given us invaluable insight.  Not all of it pertains to us, but that's ok.  So far, the biggest lightbulb that has gone off in our heads from reading this book is that we are constantly living in the future.  Physicians in training and medical families are used to delayed gratification.  But after so many years of postponing our lives til residency is over, til we have more money, til I'm done with school that we've become pretty miserable in our day to day lives.  Or at least I have.

It's no secret that I hate grad school.  But the constant "going without" all the time so we can save for when we'll have no income next summer has gotten pretty unbearable lately and has compounded my hatred for having to go into the lab everyday.  It makes it extremely difficult to get through the stresses of grad school and residency when we feel like we can't even enjoy ourselves along the way.

Add that to the fact that the hubs and I are both crazy Type A people who always want to do the responsible thing by saving for a rainy day.  This has resulted in our social lives becoming pretty depressing lately.  But our recent failed beach vacay combined with some insight gleaned from The Medical Marriage was just the push we needed to decide we were done living in the future.  Or at least to such an extreme.

We've decided to treat ourselves to nice dinners every now and then, and not panic so much if we go over our set monthly budget for various entertainment expenses.  But perhaps most exciting of all, we've started planning a big vacation for next summer after we both graduate.  We've always tossed around this idea in our heads, but for awhile dismissed it as costing too much money, money that could be more responsibly spent paying down loans.  But postponing our lives for so long has taken such a toll on our morale that we've just decided to go for it.  Even though it's still a year away, it gives me something exciting to look forward to which will hopefully make this last year a little less painful.  I know that looking forward to a vacation next summer is still technically living in the future, but at least it's the not so distant future.

It will be nothing short of a miracle when Jeff graduates residency and I finish my PhD next summer.  And I can't think of a better reason to spend a chunk of our hard earned cash on something intangible!

So here's to living more in the present.


  1. Well said. I think I have spent my entire married life living in the future, always telling ourselves that there will be time/money for that later. While it is true, it also robs us for enjoying what we do have now. Congratulations on your last year. It will go by fast, in fact I can't remember much of the last year, and this year is moving pretty fast now. We have the same number of days left, only ours is a fellowship - but it will end!

    1. I'm so jealous y'all are almost done with fellowship! We'll be doing a fellowship as well, but at least that will be a change of pace :) Here's to the light at the end of the tunnel!

  2. Chrissie! I found your blog through the Lives of Doctor's wives group. I can completely relate to you always "waiting" and not enjoying our present life right now, especially with the lifestyle we live. We try really hard to enjoy the time we have together, sometimes it is so hard to not stress about the money being spent though! I am definitely going to have to pick that book up and try to read it with the hubby, we have a LOONG way to go.

    1. Hi Hailey! Hang in there. My hubby is frugal to a fault but has recently realized you have to enjoy yourself every once in awhile to avoid going crazy! It's easier to do that though when you're almost done with training. Thanks for stopping by and I'd love to have you join the blog :)

  3. Thanks for linking up with Medical Monday! So great finding new medlife blogs!! We are way beyond that stage and just finished paying off our school debt this year. Life is good, so hang in there!

  4. Just discovered you through Medical Monday. I can totally relate to living in the future, as that was all I did through undergrad and graduate school. When I started medical school (six years ago), my Dad told me to lighten up and spend some of my loan money on making my life more enjoyable. It's been some of the best advice I've ever gotten. I've done some traveling, eaten out with friends, and I live in a nice place (as opposed to the cheapest place I could find), all of which make life much better than it otherwise would've been. My loan is larger than I would like it to be, but I feel like it's worth it.

    I hope that you have a better time of the next year because you allow yourselves some indulgences.

  5. So glad you linked up, I knew there would be others who would enjoy your blog!

  6. Glad to have found you on Monday Medical Blog Hop! It looks like you are finding a balance to saving for the future but living in the now too.

    One never knows what the future holds so we do need to be present and live for the moment. It doesn't have to cost a lot of money to do that:) Reading together and planning an intangible experience is a great idea! It gives you something to look forward to in the near future! My doc hubby and I have been through my grad school, his med school, residency, and moving around - there is a great sense of achievement to get through those years! Good Luck!

    My husband used to sew the holes in his socks during med school - we could have a "Who Is More Frugal?" contest with our hubbies:)


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