Handling the Unexpected

Monday, November 2, 2020


The year 2020 really took us all for a roller coaster ride. Any plans I may have had this year washed away with the tide of pandemic frenzy. My anxiety rose steadily as the year went on because of isolation, uncertainty, and mental exhaustion. I made so many plans for the beginning of a new decade. My to-do list filled with goals I wanted to achieve and places I would visit. My life never followed the timeline or sequence of events I planned for it. Something would always take me by surprise when I set my mind to a certain task. I used to look at my peers and friends and wonder how they could easily follow their wishes and whims when mine enjoyed taking me down complex winding paths on which I never know where I will end up. 

    In situations like this, the best approach is to learn how to handle changes because the destination might be better than what you intended for yourself. My life is an example of how to navigate situations when luck is not on your side. Nevertheless, I would change nothing if I knew it would lead me to where I am today. If you asked me during high school where I wanted to end up, I would have excitedly told you I wanted to graduate as a doctor by the age of twenty-five and marry by twenty-seven with kids at thirty. Knowing what kind of headspace I was in during my early twenties, pursuing such an intensive degree would have been very difficult for me even if I got in then. I failed one year of my courses in undergrad because of the stress I was facing at that time. If I failed out medical school because of my problems, I could never forgive myself for not giving myself the time to heal. What I didn't realize at that time was I needed that time to relearn how to focus and put myself first. I did not anticipate any of the delays, even though some of them were consequences of my own actions. 

    After the ex-fiasco I mentioned in THE FIRST ONE PART 3, I felt very lost and distracted with my current state that I could not focus on anything else. Sure, the mistake of being with him was a consequence of my actions, but I did not have any help to guide myself out in a healthy manner. This took a toll on my body along with my mind. I was not ready to take on any responsibilities for my future when my present was in shambles.  

    This year reminded me once again that taking a step back for one year and slowing down is challenging when hurtling down a self-emblazoned path that defines everything I stand for at the moment. I forget to look back at what I have accomplished and the work I needed to do on myself to be the person I am today. Without putting in the time, I could break apart at a moment's notice when something difficult comes my way because the damage would continue unhindered by healthy progress.  My anxiety didn't appreciate the forced containment but I learned how to manage it enough that it didn't shut me down completely. I acknowledge the concerns my mind is raising but I remind myself that I need to accept and move with the situations I cannot change. I went for walks in the park and played with my dog to flood my senses with peace when the voices would not quiet down and make me restless. I re-evaluated my priorities and made new plans and set new goals that I could accomplish short-term which would help me achieve what I wanted in the long run.   

    I appreciated the time I spent with my family and my husband knowing I will not always have free time to enjoy these moments. I will look back at these trying years and remember the precious moments with those whom I love and wish I could bring these moments back. I also took the opportunity to focus on my health. I cannot expect to chase my dreams while I am encumbered by poor physical health. My physical health is a way my body tells me I am not okay and can also be an extension of the mental burden I bear. Although my unhealthy obsession with food did not disappear completely, I focused on moderation and balance. I allowed myself to indulge in that cupcake as long as I focused on acquiring enough the necessary nutrients my body truly needed. 

    This is the keyword, moderation. It is the homeostasis with my environment that keeps me hanging on and moving forward. The trials and errors of life will not end, but that is the complexity and unique quality of being alive. The moments of comfort are best appreciated when pushed into challenges and moments of discomfort. Nobody achieves everything in one go or without working for it and making sacrifices. The qualities I envy in another can dismiss the work that person would have put in to be where they are or the adversity they faced to finally make it. In the same way, the things I take for granted could be what you are trying to pursue and fight for. We are all searching for that peace and tranquility of the mind which we hope we find after achieving our next goal. But it never ends. There will always be another mountain waiting after we have finished climbing our current one. This will keep us forever chasing that next high and moment of happiness, but I digress.

    It is the feeling like a ping pong ball suspended in the middle with nowhere to go that causes my anxiety to spark and splutter. I can manage everything else except this constant prickling sensation that induces my restlessness and agitation. I just want the assurance that this suspension will end and something will come out of it. Right now, we are into the second wave and there is a possibility of another lockdown. I am still uncomfortable and wary of the impact this will make on my future as I prepare for this year's residency interview season. I am also worried about how working in the medical field will affect my family in the future. This does not mean I am wavering from my commitment that I have worked so hard for it is natural to feel concerned. I will allow myself these moments of doubt as long as they don't disable me completely. This pandemic also delayed my immigration status for the United States and this in turn played a role in keeping my husband and I distanced for periods of time. We weren't expecting this after being married for over two years now. Things were not supposed to be so difficult and confusing. We needed to learn how to communicate better over the long term so that our relationship would not become another casualty of the pandemic. 

    I learned to accept who I am and my circumstances and it became the first step in my healing process. Once I acknowledged my reality I was able to make the most out of my situation and be prepared for my unpredictable future. The most important advice I can give is to keep at it. It is when you stop and give up, that all doors will close for you. Until then, there is always the remnant of hope and adding personal work into that will put you in the direction where you can manifest what you believe in. I know that I am where I am because I did not give up even when I didn't know how I would follow my dreams. For a while there, my pit became deeper and pushed me even further away from where I wanted to be. I almost convinced myself that I would remain unfulfilled and single for the rest of my life. When I was a hair's breadth from giving up, a door finally opened. It was a now or never scenario of either I take this leap now or forever hold my peace. 

Until Next Time,


Photo by Isabella and Louisa Fischer on Unsplash


  1. You seem to be handling the unexpected quite well. This blog surely captures the obstacles that have come your way but you have overcome them gracefully. May you continue to prosper in life and wish you well in your future residency program.

    1. I don't know if I am handling it that well but I am not fighting the change that comes my way and somehow surviving for now. Thank you very much for your sweet words.

  2. handling the unexpected is the much needed skill we should possess as a modern day human being.
    with the current changes, it is challenging, but we can learn this skill one step at a time.
    thanks for sharing this awesome post.

    1. Yes it can be quite challenging especially for those who feel safe with predictability and stability. Thank you very much for your feedback!


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