Soul Searching

I’ve been doing a whole lot of it lately.  I think the best explanation for my lack of posts has been that I don’t have anything to say.  Or, at minimum, anything good to say.  This post is meant to be an explanation of sorts, though I have a strange suspicion it may come across as a pity post.  If that’s the case, I’m being upfront that it’s unintentional.

The past few months at work have been slow.  Painfully slow.  Slow as in, as of late, I don’t work Mondays and Wednesdays.  An automatic response would be, “lucky you!”, but the truth is, when I don’t work, I don’t get paid.  Being at home with time on my hands and no money coming in is P.A.I.N.F.U.L.  When I first started work I was in a similar situation, and found myself legit depressed for the first time in my life.  I’ve been sick and tired of school and bummed about immediate situations before, but I’m talking legit depressed.  Depressed like—you worked your entire life towards something that’s sucking all of your energy and finances out of you and giving nothing in return-depressed.  I’m finding the depression creeping in again, and praying the holidays will ward it off until things undoubtedly pick up again in January.  In the meantime, I have far too much time on my hands.  Too much time yields too much thinking.  My brain never stops to begin with, but when it’s left in silence it works at quadruple the pace and the result is never good.

Thinking has led me to re-evaluate…..everything.  I think I’m in the beginning stages of a quarter-life-crisis of sorts.  Nothing to hit the panic button over, I think this sort of thing is bound to hit everyone in their mid late twenties, and recur again in the fifties.  I’m sane, and I’m not going to chop my hair, tattoo anything or make any sudden moves…because that’s not my style.  It’s more of a “where are you going with this” reevaluation of my life.  I’m lucky in that I have absolute stability in the most important stuff.  My relationship with Chris is rock-solid, and when I look into the future that’s the one thing I know is for the long haul.  It’s the rest of the stuff that’s got my gears turning.

I’m still settling in to being a dentist.  I didn’t expect to graduate and know so little—but the truth is, after thirty years in practice as a dentist you still don’t. know. everything.  You might not even know 50%.  I hate what I’m about to say, because it’s so “oh poor you”, but I wholeheartedly believe it, and so I’ll throw it out there.  Being a dentist is one of the most difficult careers out there.  People don’t like coming to see you, you’re working in a black box of limited visibility with a tongue and cheeks to battle to work within fractions of millimeter parameters.  It’s f*ing hard as s***.  People don’t like having to pay to take care of their mouths, they think you own a yacht even though your student loan debt is greater than your overly understanding husband’s mortgage, and it never ends.  I’m either having a nightmare about whether I removed all the nerve tissue from the last root canal I did that day, or on call on the weekends saying no to the second drink in case my phone rings on Saturday night.

About a year ago I had an overwhelming sense of relief when I was explaining to one of my closest friend’s why dentistry is stressful.  Her dad is a dentist, and she was in awe of my descriptions, because she remembered her dad always coming home stressed from work, but wasn’t sure why.  At least I’m not the only dentist out there who feels constantly on the verge of falling off the deep end.  Overly dramatic, maybe.

So over the past two months of having too much time on my hands to constantly stress about the next 25 years of loan payments I have to face and whether or not I want to spend these 25 years doing the profession that I’m paying off the education for, I haven’t had much to say.  For now, I’ll continue making lists of pros and cons, weeding out as much as I can from my day to day that ends up on the “cons” list, and doing more of what constitutes a “pro”.  I’ll try to search for the good, and put the bad into perspective.  That, and I’ll hope to hell my schedule fills up enough to stop thinking so much about it all.


1 Comment

Filed under Trials and Tribulations, Work

One response to “Soul Searching

  1. Sorry you’re going through a rough time, Rhodes. We’ve all been there in some form. I did the SAME thing after law school was over. I think you’re a lot like my dad– working makes him feel sane. Even if it’s the most stressful career out there, you guys need your mind to be concentrating on something outside yourself.
    I’m so proud of you for all that you’ve accomplished. You’ve worked really hard to get where you are, and sometimes it’s frustrating when you come to the end of all the hard work and life doesn’t look quite how you imagined it would. The good news is- you’re so smart, and so fun, and such a good person… and you can always, always change your mind. I know it sounds crazy, but you are only limited by your own imagination. If things really suck, you can change your mind. You can move to a different practice, or even a different field. It’s all in your hands, and sometimes it makes me feel better just knowing I have that power if I want to use it.
    Love you, woman. Thinking about you all the time. I hope things start looking up soon.

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