24 things learned by my 24th birthday

This list trend is continuing.. So now let’s add this trend with a new one. Twenty-four things I learned upon arriving to my 8760th day on Earth. This year especially, I feel that I have grown significantly. Not only in knowledge base, but humility, compassion and experience. Nothing teaches you more about yourself and tests your naive idealistic beliefs like real-world experience on the job, as a student, at the bottom of a very tall totem pole. I have felt beat down, liberated, exhausted and driven all at the same time during this last year. I’m glad that my 23rd year witnessed so much human life, whether it’s miracle of birth, it’s miraculous healing power, or it’s last dying breath. I couldn’t have asked for a 23rd year that lent any more teaching, challenges or life altering moments.

Things learned:

1. San Antonio has way more to offer than I ever gave her credit for — Pearl Street, Local Coffee, art museums, history and so much more.

2. Timeshare companies really do give away free trips… As long as you listen to them ramble for 2+ hours. Jamaica, here we come! And on that note, you CANT give in to their sales pitches.. DONT DO IT!

3. Socioeconomics and health literacy play such an integral role in the health of the community and the delivery of healthcare. The falsities of media and advertising is astounding and the resulting population of people who are misled is enormous.

4. How much I love smaller towns and hate traffic.

5. I can actually swim in the oceans without becoming shark bait. I’m overcoming my fears one tiny step at a time.

6. I MUST live in Montana when I get older. End of story.


7. The importance of public health in truly changing population based health outcomes. Starting at treatment can only get you so far. Prevention and education are key.

8. The incredible amount of hard work and dedication it takes to be in a committed relationship with the accompaniment of hectic schedules, stress, major life changes and emotional upheaval.

9. The Valley is amazing and beautiful in its own unique way. It taught me loads about people, healthcare, culture, and myself. I couldn’t have asked for a more well-rounded, hands on, 3rd year experience.

10. The realization that my time left in Texas is minuscule. This coming year is my last chance to spend quality time in larger than weekend long spurts with my family.

11. Tiny houses are amazing.. More to come.  (Whitney wants to add that tiny people are pretty cool too!)

12. Less is more. Throughout the year, Whit and I cleaned out and cut down our belongings multiple times. We are excited to keep this cleansing and de-cluttering process going as we hopefully transition to a tiny home for residency.


13. How much I love weekends.. FULL weekends.

14. The importance of taking care of yourself and your own health first — kidney stones, wisdom teeth removal, etc.

15. How important reading is to my sanity. It is my escape, my meditation, my self-directed learning and my looking glass into my soul. My reconnection with this long lost friend was the key to my survival this year.. my form of decompression.

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16. You can still travel during clinicals. With a dose of planning, a shot of determination, and a sprinkle of dollars, it can be done.

17. I can do without children for awhile. It’s okay to be selfish while I’m young. I want my time dictated by me for at least a little while longer.

18. Like above, just because it seems like every day, someone else on that dang news feed is getting engaged or married, it doesn’t mean that it’s right for everyone right now. Everybody’s time will come when it’s right for them — not because some imaginary clock is ticking or some marriage train is passing us all and only those who jump on that train right this moment will ever get married in their lifetime.

19. How liberating, yet terrifying it is to have no clue where you will be in one year.. Literally any state (with mountains) is up for the taking.

20. How to be flexible. If you remain so rigid, life will be miserable — especially in a hospital.

21. How humbling it can be to be at the bottom of the totem pole. Medical students, by nature, tend to be those few in the top of their class their entire life. And then you get to wards. And you are basically useless, like a floormat. And no matter how much you studied during the first two years, you feel completely lost. It was challenging but necessary to be reminded that I still have a long way to go to become a physician.

22. Home truly is wherever I’m with you (to Whit). We have traveled so many places together and will continue to move around quite a bit in our future. I know that as long as you’re by my side, I’m home.

23. The ease of living a healthy, active, community-based lifestyle when surrounded by it. Coming back to San Antonio, with its slightly lower BMI than the valley, its beautifully massive farmer’s markets, Whole Foods, and trails galore put the spark back into my desires to exemplify healthy living.

24. You can’t compare yourself to anyone but who you were yesterday. You will make your life miserable trying to make your beginnings supersede other people’s culminations of years of work. Be happy with your accomplishments for what they are — accomplishments. Plus, you are probably comparing what you consider a personal flaw to someone else’s flair. We cannot all be perfect at everything. No one is perfect, but we all have something unique to offer the world, something only we possess: our compassion.


So, because I’m in an airport in Japan with poor wifi, I can’t upload my images. So once I get back to the states I will upload some things to perk up this long, text-filled post!

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