I'm sitting here, reading for my Program Planning and Design course, one of the courses that I felt I most needed and was most excited about taking in my public health curriculum, and at the end of the chapter about needs assessments, which is the only thing I'm used to doing in the realm of public health, I found myself suddenly saying, "I'm so little."
I am so little.
I'm 25. I'm starting a relationship that I realize, and startlingly so, may become serious enough to end in marriage. Or maybe he won't (a la Andre 3000, "if not, you are the prototype.") He's not Muslim, but he's not any religion, but he gives charity regularly, volunteers, doesn't drink and says grace over his food. He believes in God and he doesn't try to convert me. But I don't know what it all means. At my 25 years, I feel foolishly young when it comes to this whole relationship thing.
And I'll be 26 in February.
But in the face of all I will be...insha'Allah someday a wife, a mother, a physician...I'm so young. That over which I will feel the greatest sense of productivity is into the future and indeed, not guaranteed. And yet I feel like I've lived so much life, so many different lives...I've been a musician, a newspaper editor, a lab tech, a tutor, a Spanish-speaker, a researcher, a medical student, a junior clinician, and now I'm about to be a junior public health practitioner. So many different ways of unpaid life...and yet my goals lie before me, not even realized yet. And that's why I'm so young.
And I think of what I want to do with those three things that I'll be...a wife, a mother, a physician. As a physician, I want to be one who is involved in my community, able to assess the needs of the community I work in and perhaps help to roll-out programs for the benefit of my community in addition to being a practitioner for the families in these communities. It's simple. I don't want or need necessarily to be a part of my city or state public health department, but I don't exclude that as a possibility for my future. But there are so many things, so many determinants that will lead to this, my future, that I haven't even touched yet. I've not even finished my fourth year of medical school. I'm not even in my intern year of residency. What will make me the physician I will come to be is at least four years away from me right now. I have little idea about it. I have little idea how I will make my dreams in my career come true. I'm trying to affect a community that I don't yet know exists, and it's just a community but it is so much larger as magnified by future possibilities. I am so small.
Not even to speak of my potential as a wife and mother. I don't even know about these anymore, other than my wanting to be both, not so much out of sense of duty but out of want of challenge, to realize my emotional and physical capabilities as so many women before me have done, but I know it has to be more than that. It has to be more, but I've grown enough to recognize that this will happen along the way. I feel so naive, still, because I want what I don't know. O povo sabe o que quer, mas o povo também quer o que não sabe...
So this all comes together with me being so little. I will graduate from medical and public health schools with debt to pay, not just monetary, but an expectation that I'll somehow affect change. My aspirations as a college student entering into professional school were absent and fanciful. We all come into medical school wanting to help people, many of us with dreams to change the world on the low. But this is really hard, and not all of us have the innate ability or natural skill set to do what we want to do.
But we make due, because we have to. Whether we succeed or not, we have a debt to pay.
I'm so young, so much life insha'Allah ahead of me. I'm so small, in the grand scheme of life and in light of all I want to impact. I'm so naive, in that I want what I know little about. I'm so little.
But Allah (swt) is infinite in His expanse.
So I walk along on my merry way, so little, but not insignificant, at liberty to dream and aspire, rightfully hoping and praying for a meaningful future, the one that I intend and the one that is best for me, when the two aren't mutually exclusive.