December 9, 2011 - submitted by Garietta, United States of America

It's five o' clock in the morning and I woke up quite suddenly with the fear that my life turned out wrong. 35 year old college graduate. I survived medical school, surgical residency, and additional training in the field of vascular surgery. Yet today I sit on my mother's couch, unemployed, without the comfort of a lover arms, or the joy of a child's quiet breathing in the next room.
Right now the choices I made, the sacrifices I made seem inconsequential. So my question is do I continue blindly on the path I have laid out of myself even though I know I have to compromise the vision of myself/my future that I carried in my head or do I do something different?

The Oracle replies:

Life is very short and very precious and it sounds like yours is ticking away while you observe. I was saddened most by the mention of a child as that sounds like it's something you want and at 35, perhaps you still can? Don't worry about the comfort of a lover's arms, concentrate on getting yourself back on track first. The rest may fall into place once you stop wallowing. That is not meant to be so harsh, it's meant to be a kick up the backside, a wake-up call if you will.
It's not too late. Your life didn't turn out wrong, it just took a diversion. You can get all the things you want. Whether you want to continue in your chosen profession is your choice and it really is a choice. Don't feel you have to because of all the time and study that went into it. It's not working out for you right now but it may. You have to put the effort in to get something back. IF there's something else you want to do though, now is the time for action. You could move, you could retrain, you get any job to get yourself back out there or maybe get some coaching sessions to build your confidence up to face the challenge ahead.
Those negatives you mentioned need to spun around into positives. Your staying at your Mum's so it's cheaper - once you get a job you'll be able to save. As you're unemployed you can invest time into finding the right thing. At the moment you don't have a partner or child who depends on you, so you're free to pursue a dream - which may be still be in the medical profession or it may be a new career. It might be time to reassess the vision of the future you and focus on that new image. Good luck Garietta. Over to you.

Surviving medical school is such a great accomplishment. You should be proud of yourself. It is quite obvious that even if you had a job you would still be unhappy because you would be missing those other things which you long for (it is because of your current situation that u are able to see clearly and recognize the things that will bring you true happiness). Those are the things that will make you feel whole and above all matter most in this world. I believe that by writing to the Oracle you've already begun to do things differently. Remember, doing things differently doesn't necessarily mean you have to do different things; you can continue to strive towards your original goal (and add more goals) but you can take a different approach or path. Rearrange your priorities according to what is most important to you, and keep in mind that it is not good for man/woman to be alone. Focus your energy on maintaining a positive attitude and always look for the positive in any situation and I guarantee that you will see yourself through. Adrian.

That is very unfortunate that you feel this way but you are not alone. So many people choose the wrong careers because their parents pressure them, they want to make a lot of money, etc. but it is great that you realized this when you are still young! Thirty five is young enough to find a career that makes you happy and get all the things you want for your life. You are obviously very intelligent and strong so my advice would be to try new things and find out what makes you happy. Life is too short to regret your past so learn from your mistakes, and move on. It is not too late to have an enjoyable career, significant other, children, etc! Good luck! Katie.

I just got into Med school, so the life you describe as your own sounds like an ideal one to me. I guess you are all that I aspire to be. But apparently that success in your career isn't a key to happiness. I know that my main motivation to become a doctor is that I want to spend my life helping people. Maybe you could try and remember why you chose that career, it might light the spark again. I don't know why you are unemployed, but finding a job can't be a problem for someone with your qualifications. You have the skill to actually get to save people's lives every day, don't let it go to waste. It's such a wonderful job, with so many interesting people to meet among your patients or other physicians and fascinating things to do.
You've reached the objectives you had set for the parts of your life that you can control. But love happens randomly, so all you can do is make the most of every opportunity life gives you and just wait to find the right person. But if you are really unhappy, there is no shame in starting all over again and choosing a new course in your life. Don’t stay trapped in your old dreams, fulfill your new ones, be the actor of your own happiness. Good luck! Colleen, France.

Stop! Take a deep breath and get off that couch! As far as we all know, we have been given this one life and it is short.
If you don't like something, change it. Start doing things you love: join a choir, become a volunteer at a soup kitchen, start ice-skating, whatever.
Don't say "I can't do that" because you don't know until you give it a real good try. It may not be easy. You will probably never become a star ice-skater, but who cares? Or maybe you discover ice-skating sucks, but along the way you will find out your real passion/talent.
Other people may think you have lost your mind and want to talk some sense in to you. But that is just the thing: it isn't about being sensible, it's about being sensitive. Never apologize for your feelings. If you following your heart makes them uncomfortable, it is their problem. All that matters is that you live your life to the fullest.
I know you can do this. You've overcome other issues and chosen the two hardest jobs in the world as your ambitions.
A wise person once said "life is about the people you meet and the things you share with them". So, let's go! Mar.

I often think about my life, about my friends. I'm young (17), and I don't know a lot about life. But If there is one thing that I'm sure of, it's that in this life we should have courage. Courage to change, to do something different, to fight against something that is wrong. In latin there is a famous quote: "memento audere semper". It's a fantastic thing to say, so for example we have to be fast to take our opportunities because someone could be faster than us. If you don't like something, change it. If you don't like your job, quit. And start doing things to love. But remember one thing: Life is for living. Coldplay docet. Federico.

Looking towards the future with a positive attitude, when it comes to a situation where you need to readjust the way you've been living, is the most important factor. I would recommend you concentrate on getting out your mothers house, first of all. A new location would be the best for you. You've got an impressive medical degree, use that to find work, and help kickstart a life in a new location, and as long as you don't become a workaholic, the rest should follow. You don't need to get caught up with work, keep a balance on a social life along with this. But I cannot stress that your best choice would be to move to a new area, you don't have to leave your family in the dust, but perhaps some time away from them would do you good.
Best wishes, and Happy Holidays, Bradley H.

If you have completed med school and other training, then you are certainly not living your life on a blind path. It takes a special dedication to plan and follow through with those intense studies, so don't discredit yourself in any way! If you can survive med school, then you can survive this quarter-life crisis. I know times are tough here in the U.S., but with that resume you are most likely to get your career rolling sooner than you think. And who says you need to compromise your future for a family? There isn't an age limit or time requirement to start a family, so when you feel ready, go for it! Live life one day at a time, and try not to become overwhelmed with the could-haves and should-haves, as they will only make you second guess yourself. Most importantly, keep reminding yourself why you chose this path in the first place, and remind yourself of the rewards it will bring. Best of luck, Blake

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