>August 13 2001

>One of my biggest worries about going to medical school is that I will not be able to provide my family with all of the things that they have become accustomed to. Besides the huge time commitment I fear that we won’t be able to enjoy many of the things we do now, due to lack of finances. While we have never lived the lifestyle of the rich and famous, we do love to go to Sonic, for a milkshake or a sundae, on a whim. And we’re forever dropping $20 here for a soccer tournament entrance fee and $10 there for some new books. I worry that my girls might become resentful if we can’t do all the things we used to. However I read an article that gives me hope that I can give them something, that in the long run, will be more valuable than the lack of regular Taco Bell runs.

An actuary named Irwin T. Vanderhoof, (what a great name!) who is now deceased wrote an article entitled “And I’m Not …” in a magazine I get. He told how these words, spoken by a friend of his named “Izzy” had come to symbolize a message that made a difference in Vanderhoof’s life. He writes:

“He mentioned that he’d once wanted to become a lawyer. He’s told all his friends about his ambition to go back to law school at age 45. His friends said, ‘You’re crazy, Izzy. By the time you finish, you’ll be 55. What his friends said sounded sensible enough at the time.

‘But you know what?’ he told me. ‘I’m 55, and I’m not a lawyer.’

Writers sometimes elegize “the road less traveled.” Robert Frost wrote verses about the choices that can make a difference. (“But I took the one less traveled by…”) And maybe the Rubaiyat is more stylish in its phrasing: “The moving finger writes, and, having writ, moves on…” but it couldn’t have the same impact on me as ‘and I’m not’ from my friend.

I had already been preparing to go to med school a year when I read this article, but it sure did mean a lot to me in thinking about my decision. I am going to be 40 or dead in six years whether I am a doctor or not. I might as well be 40 and a doctor than 40 and not. And I hope when my kids are older, they can more appreciate what I’m doing and find the courage to pursue their own dreams.

About Marcus Lee

Child Neurologist
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