After the last few weeks of working non-stop, I finally hit a wall. It was as though I couldn’t think anymore and didn’t have the motivation to continue pushing forward. So, during this time, I decided to coast with most things in my life, and relax as much as possible. To me that means, “Treat Yo’self.” This evokes many many smiles for me because I love the show, “Parks and Recreation,” (click for video explaining “Treat Yo’self”) from where this quote comes from.
So, in an attempt to de-stress and get some much needed rest, I decided to treat myself by taking a day off after my last big meeting. Fortunately, I was scheduled to be in the West side during this time, so when I was done with my appointment, I decided to stroll around and take some of this part of the city in.
The Upper West Side is quite different from the Upper East Side. I can’t really pinpoint what is that makes it so different, but it feels younger. The restaurants, the people, the small boutiques, gave me the sense that there may be a younger distribution of people living in the UWS. I may be wrong, but to me the UWS is uncharted territory and I always enjoy going over to that side of town because everything is new and shiny. 🙂
I began the day by grabbing brunch as Sarabeth’s. I could have been more adventurous and tried another up and coming place, but it was pouring that day…and to be honest I have been wanting to try Sarabeth’s for a while now. It was a treat yourself kind of day, so I went in by myself and ordered whatever I wanted.
For me, it was such an enriching experience just sitting there by myself even though most people were accompanied by others and the place was packed. It gave me time to think about other things going on in my life, to actually enjoy my own thoughts, and not to have to keep up conversation. As I’ve gotten older, I am learning to really enjoy time with myself and as cliche as it sounds, I am beginning to really embrace the fact that perhaps the best relationship I can have is that with myself. For me this is a struggle because I often don’t listen to my body and mind, and keep on pushing forward, without giving myself time to process situations and to rest. It has been nice to just listen to myself and to begin to really value my quality of life…which is a struggle when you are pursuing a MD/PhD degree and have been on a similar career path since your early twenties.
After having brunch at Sarabeth’s, I decided to make a pit stop at the Museum of Natural History. As some of you may know by now, I love most forms of art, and I hadn’t been to this museum since I was in middle school. So, I figured I should give it a visit. Let me just put it this way, although I enjoyed my time there and I am a scientist, I prefer staring at modern art much more than staring at the origins of life 😉 .
With that said, I did find some things every interesting. The MoNH has great videos that they show with some of their exhibits. I was particularly intrigued by the exhibit on human evolution and what makes us human? Considering that I have been pondering so many of those questions lately, it was good to read through the exhibit and see some of the videos and realize that so much of our human-ness is not really understood yet. From a scientific perspective, I know this already but it was good to be reminded of it. From a personal perspective, it made me realize that as humans, we are so talented and complex that it is important to use this for the betterment of our planet and for helping others out.
This idea of helping others out, through medicine in particular, was highlighted in a small exhibit that the museum has on eradicating diseases that affect third world countries. From a medical perspective, I knew what a lot of these diseases were, but the photos in the exhibit were magnificent. They really helped capture the essence of the people living with these diseases. Some of these photos were heartbreaking but full of hope. It was also nice to see that the organizations that are helping to combat these diseases were highlighted in the exhibit. A lot of diseases that do not affect a population that can pay for drugs that can cure them are often neglected and this is unfortunate, but it gives me hope that there are organizations out there that are helping in multiple ways. Of course, this isn’t the only reason why these diseases are not eradicated, but it is one of the reasons.
Seeing all of these things really made me think about the type of work I want to do in the future and how I can best use my talents to help others out. Perhaps taking this day off helped me to realign my goals and to remind myself why I am doing this. This is the great thing about living in this city and perpetually asking the universe to give you signs ;), you sometimes actually get them! For me, this day was full of signs. It reminded me that I need to slow down, that I need to think about how to best use my talents, how much I still love science even though working through this PhD has been tough, and that giving my brain and body a break are essential and part of my human-ness.
How are you all doing?
PS: It is a shame that I forgot to get the artists’ names for the drawings, photos, and human reconstructions, but all credit to them for their beautiful work.