I remember well my final run at my favorite park in our old city just three weeks ago. The air was warm and the trees were rustling in the breeze as I jogged my well-loved loop. I didn't want to have to leave that park for the final time. Would I find someplace to run in my new city that was as as zen-inducing as that leafy, peaceful park?
I knew that it was time to move on, but I didn't want to leave my familiar job either. As much as I could intellectualize about the worthy reasons to go, some tenacious part of me balked at having to start over. What kind of a doctor would I be in a new place? Maybe I relied too much on the systems and people around me. Maybe getting plopped into a new spot would reveal my inadequacies. After all, I had spent the entire eight years of my post-medical school career in one place.
Leave we did, though, and here I am in my new job. Everything is unfamiliar, and I am humbled by having to relearn workflows and cultures. I still get lost in this office and our hospital across the street, though I certainly appreciate the gracious ways my new co-workers are assisting me.
My skills and experience are taking on new meaning here, and I'm coming to realize that my identity and purpose wasn't as tied to my former office and program as I had feared. I brought my knowledge and personality with me, after all.
Last week, I pulled my running shoes out of a moving box and headed out into our new neighborhood for a jog. The neat sidewalks and flat topography are definitely different from my old city's feel, but as I trundled down the streets my feet moved just as they always had. The sky was wide and flat before me, clouds lazily ambling along. Children were playing in driveways surrounded by trees bursting with a million different shades of oranges, reds, and yellows. After the run, I experienced the same gentle burst of euphoria afterwards that I always had before.
I'm relieved to discover that I am more than the place that I left. My skills belong to me, regardless of the context I'm in. My enjoyment from running wasn't ultimately about the park, it was about the run itself. My job satisfaction wasn't ultimately about the place, it was about the work I was doing.
No matter where I go, I'm still a family doc.