Releasing What We Want So Badly

If you want something bad enough, you have to let it go.

The summer after I graduated from my undergraduate program, I toiled endlessly about what was next for me. After 8 years of anticipating going to medical school, I was now stuck questioning if medical school was the right path for me. Now free to choose where and what I want to do next with my life. I knew two things. One, I did not want to jump back into higher education. Two, I wanted to experience life in a different country.

For months, I meditated for hours each day. I hoped to find a different perspective and answers to what was next in my life. It was hard to imagine my life outside of medicine and healthcare, as I had dedicated much time and effort to this career path. Gradually, I began to build the next steps of my life.

First, I found a job teaching English to students in France. Although this contract was brief, it was enough for me to experience adventure. I also realized that I needed time to understand my volition to pursue a career in medicine. To give myself more time and be productive, I applied to master degree programs.

Six weeks before traveling to France, I stood at a crossroads. There were two paths available. One, an Advanced Biomedical Sciences program, began in August 2018. I would join a post-bac cohort of other prospective medical school students, take an array of advanced science classes, and continue a summer semester to finish with a Master of Science in Physiology from Georgetown University. With this path, I would not gain the experience of teaching nor would I feed my inner child’s sense of adventure.

The other path was built more on chance. This path would provide me with a unique experience. It would require me to live in another country, complete a thesis project, and give me more time until its start date. I made it past the first acceptance of the physiology graduate committee at McGill University. However, I needed to procure a research supervisor, and the deadline to find one quickly approached.

Simultaneously and days away, stood the post-bac program’s deadline for enrollment, yet I knew in my heart that I wanted a deeper research experience and to live in a foreign country. I took a chance and declined my offer to the Advanced Biomedical Sciences Program.

Finding a research supervisor became more difficult than expected. Endless emails packed with hope and intrigue fell on professors whose labs were full or had no way to finance my education. My enormous excel spreadsheet filled with prospective research supervisors continued to grow smaller. I panicked as it seemed like everything could potentially fall apart. 

Then something remarkable happened. I released my want for this experience to happen. I let go of my desires for it and began setting my sight on other potential paths. Without a definitive research supervisor in sight, I embarked to France.

From 7 am to 10 pm Monday to Friday, we camp counselors taught, directed activities, and organized the language program. On the weekends, we traveled through Normandy to places such as Saint Malo, Caen, and Fougères. Navigating through France transported me back to childhood, I walked in awe through the cobbled streets of Mont Saint-Michel. During my time there (and on the day of the deadline nonetheless), what would become my graduate research supervisor enthusiastically reached out to me with news of my being awarded a Charles River Lab scholarship. The following January 2019, I entered the graduate program at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

Although a long story, I felt compelled to share the complete call to action I took to achieve my goals. The moral of this story is that sometimes you have to say: fuck it.

In all, I truly believe the universe wants to give us our desires and aspirations. However, we are raised to view the world with a scarcity mindset.

We have to question if what we want can actually happen because in our mind life is unfair or things do not work out. The problem with these fixations is that we approach the desire from a place of fear and lack. If fear and lack are the main contributors to our desires, it should be no surprise that things do not work out.

The crux is things do not have to be perfect but just good enough. Perfection will only delay what is meant for you. Set your intentions, visualize them, work towards them, and then release whatever outcome you want for said desire. Nothing has to be perfect because that perfect does not exist, so make it good enough and move on with your life.