Wednesday, November 19, 2008

On Being Calm, Chances and Decisions

I surprised myself for being so calm.

I have just lost my barely 4 month old USB flash drive. I realized that I have lost it three days after the fact. Backtracking, there are only two possibilities:
  1. I left it in my jeans, and it was subsequently washed clean by the laundry people; or
  2. I left it still connected to a USB port in an Internet Cafe when I needed to send my resume online.
So there was no one left to blame but myself.

I guess I was taken aback by my less than explosive reaction - in a different time, I would have thrown a fit. That flash drive contained all my previous and current coursework, and some eBooks. I just shrugged the loss off, and moved on to other things that I needed to do - attend a company gathering, take the ferry home, have lunch with Joy, and visit my friend Jane and her two children.

Reminds me of things that happened about 3 weeks ago. Unknowingly I walked into a convention of doctors from the specialty I was supposed to be training in. One of my consultants, upon seeing me and hearing that I had a less-glamorous (but equal paying) job in a call center, remarked:
"Yan, si Carl, ayaw lang niyan ma-toxic."
I don't know why she had to say that. But I had better things to worry about than be self-conscious and ask myself if that was really a fair assessment of why I got out of Medicine in the first place. If she said that two years ago, I would have tried to talk to other consultants, fellow residents, and staff, and ask if that was also how they view me as a person. But now, it just came off as a joke.

Let it not be said that I am not worried about anything anymore.

Of course there was this absence that I needed to take. I was not able to go anywhere else because the Coast Guard canceled all ferry trips to Bacolod. I was worried sick that the absence I needed to take would mean the end of my chances for promotion. But aside from worrying about it, I had rightfully taken the initiative to inform my supervisors of the situation as early as possible. This lessened any impact that my absence might have had.

I guess that over time, I had learned to make allowances for the random thing that you least expect to happen. And not to lose sight of the forest for the trees, or something like that. I will not be able to restore most of the data from the flash drive, but I already submitted most of my coursework and the course guides are online anyway. I am also now more self-aware, and less dependent on external feedback to shape the decisions that I take.

I remember that when I was in high school, I had for my motto "Chance favors the prepared mind," quoting Louis Pasteur. I hope that when the right opportunities pass by, I would be prepared to seize them - not some blind, fatalistic "Carpe diem" mentality that you would regret later.

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