Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Let it Go

Ok, I know it is possibly one of the most overplayed song ever... but it's a little special to me.

Just to make it more interesting because it has been played so many, many times, here it is in Mandarin from the Taiwan version of Frozen. Beautifully sung by Shennio Lin, and with a translation of the lyrics that capture the feeling of the original the closest I feel, when compared with the Chinese Mandarin or the Cantonese versions.

I went to see Frozen whilst it was still in the cinema last year and heard Let it Go for the first time. When Elsa sings at that point in the movie, she's feeling very alone in the world and the lyrics are reflecting that. I found myself relating to them so much that when she's singing '..no rules for me, I'm free!' and starts running up the ice staircase she's just created, I was starting to well up.

Five years ago I decided to leave medicine, leave being a doctor, and I was really scared. I'd never imagined that I wouldn't be staying in it when I was going through medical school. Six years at university and two years of training later, I found myself hating what I'd thought would be my career. I saw how some others were so enthused by the stressful nature of the work, whereas I found it a struggle. And how some thrived in the competitive environment whereas I couldn't understand the need for a lot of the politics. I didn't feel like I belonged -  the way I am, the way I work, just didn't seem to fit in there. So when I had to decide what do to whilst waiting to get a specialty training post, I realised that actually I didn't want to pursue it anymore. My heart wasn't in it.

The most difficult part though was after I left. Looking back now, I was really quite low for a few months before and after the official last day. Was I depressed? I'm not sure, but I certainly had periods where I was very tearful, couldn't sleep or slept too much, and had episodes where I felt a horrible hopelessness. I was grieving, definitely, for having left something that I'd planned and based my life on for so long. I am a typical introvert in that I normally don't enjoy large group gatherings and often have to take a few days of being on my own to recharge after a spate of socialising. So for a while I found it particularly difficult to face parties and meet ups because inevitably I had to talk about what I was up to and then explain, and sometimes be asked to justify, my decision, often to people I hardly knew, when I hadn't even fully accepted it myself. I found it difficult when I got negative reactions where people thought I was making such a throwaway decision when it was anything but, and I could see they didn't understand how horrible the whole thing had been for me.

In truth I was judging myself. 'How could you just throw it away?' and 'But you've wasted those years at university!' were things that went around in my own head too. I wasn't sure if it was a brave or stupid decision. But my instinct was screaming for me to leave. Having been away from it for long enough and really enjoying what I'm doing now with my own thing, being my own boss, I am more sure that I made the right choice. It hasn't been easy and it is still difficult, but I am far, far happier now. There is this wonderful quote "You know you are on the right path when you become uninterested in looking back." which is exactly how I feel. I know a few others who left medicine for a career change and are much happier for it as well. I also know some who left but went back again. I know for sure that I don't want to go back to it.

So, back in that dark cinema last year, when Elsa was in the last verse, throwing her tiara away and singing "I'm never going back, the past is in the past!" I was a blubbering mess. But it was a happy mess. It felt quite cathartic. Everyone has their own interpretation of the song. For me, Let it Go is about self-acceptance and how powerful it is when you stop hating yourself for being you. It doesn't matter if others understand why I did it anymore, because I'm happy that I did.

I know it's a little sad, but, I still can't sing the whole song without getting a tad emotional.

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