"He saw: this water ran and ran, incessantly it ran, and was nevertheless always there, was always at all times the same and yet new in every moment..." --Siddhartha, Hermann HesseTransition. The day is fast approaching when there will be new initials after my name, when responsibilty for patients is real. And yet that day will be no different than any other day in the particulars. It holds some special significance, but more in the awareness of the destination rather than the steps taken. Haven't I been studying to become a doctor for four years? And will I somehow become a doctor when I start as an intern? Yes, and no. The path is what matters, but the transition points are the source of anxiety.
I have a trick for this. I put myself on the other side in my head, and imagine myself at the end of intern year, a bit more jaded but also more confident, efficient, and still open to learning. Developing my own ideas. The white coat is longer. It is no longer difficult to write a script from lack of practice. Calling in a consult is only occasionally terrifying rather than often or always.
That is the nature of our transitions. We are always who we are and yet always renewing; tomorrow I will be who I am now but I will also be new and what I did today will be gone, yet it will have decided who I am.
The picture above is of the Rio Grande. The river south is flat and placid, often shallow to the point of disappearing, but higher, in the narrow canyons by Taos, it is a deep and raging thing. It is the same river in both places.