Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Goodbye, 2019

Welp. From the memes and pictures being shared around Facebook etc, it appears 2019 was a rough year for most of us. It's certainly felt longer than twelve months, though it is a little hard to believe it's the last day of December already -- time does this weird thing where it crawls and flies at the same time. But here we are, on the last day of the year, heaving a collective sigh of relief that it's finally over. And here I am hurriedly cobbling together my usual year end post before heading in to work for my long shift. What are you doing for NYE? Something much better, I hope.


There are a few things I want to write about. These topics have been divided into the good, the bad, and the ugly. Original, I know.

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The good

Moving to a bigger hospital and going into BPT (Basic Physician Training) have been the highlights of the year. I've done and learnt so much that just thinking of it all makes me exhausted. I've been able to work under and alongside some really great people, and from the not-so-great people I have learnt how not to do things both now and in the future. I think the key to learning in the clinical setting is to take everything in, and then sort through it all and keep the bits you feel are important or applicable. I do my best to be open...by which I mean have open eyes to observe, an open mind to take everything in, and open hands to do the tasks and jobs that come my way. In other career news, I finally came to terms with the fact that if I'm serious about getting into Oncology, I'll need to do more than just the exams and sit and hope and pray. I've recently started an audit on a topic I am genuinely interested in and curious about, and hope to finish sometime next year. If it gets published, I'll probably be posting it everywhere triumphantly, so watch this space! I'm pretty pleased with the progress I've made this year, and hope to continue on the same trajectory in 2020.


For my annual leave this year, I focused on seeing friends and family. Over the course of five weeks, I travelled to Perth, KL, Seremban, Singapore, Launceston, and Melbourne. None of these places was particularly exotic or anything, but the trip was special to me -- I got to attend a beautiful wedding, see extended family members I hadn't seen in years, and meet up with a whole bunch of uni friends. I also got a selfie with a quokka! It was a wonderful break, and I'm glad to have spent it the way I did.


The other good thing is that I bought a car! After years and years of bumming rides off people, I've finally got a ride of my own. It's a cute little Kia Picanto that I got for a great price after months of stalking new and used car prices. To be honest, where I live right now, I've been perfectly fine without a car -- the hospital is nearby, as is a variety of grocery stores, church, an Asian mart, the bank, everything you could ever want. Next year, though, I'll be working in regional Queensland for six months, so I'll need a car to get there and get around the place. So I have a car now! It's been so great driving to further away farmer's markets, not having to walk 25 minutes in the sun to get to church, picking packages up from the post office... Oh man. I finally have a car now, and it's the best.


The bad

If you didn't already know, moving to a new place where you knew barely anyone is hard. I'm very lucky to have known a couple people here, but because we're all doctors, our days off often don't align so we don't see each other that much. Making friends at work who stay friends outside of work is difficult -- you already see them for like ten hours a day when you're in the hospital, so you don't really feel like seeing them again on your days off. Also, at the end of the work day, everyone's so tired they just want to go home, so you don't hang out after work. It's very isolating, to tell you the truth. Oftentimes I've thought that if I were to just disappear off the face of the earth, the only party who would realise for perhaps several days would be work (not my most cheerful thought in 2019). Having a housemate was helpful, as well as keeping in contact with people elsewhere. Pro tip: Check in on your friends who have moved elsewhere for work. I've spoken to several people who have been in the same situation, and we all feel the same way: Making friends when you're working is hard!


Work itself occasionally got me down, particularly when it was extremely busy and/or emotionally taxing. It's hard to feel like/function as a human being when you're stretched so thin! I learnt to compartmentalise and deal with emotions at a more convenient time, particularly after crazy ward call shifts or Med Onc days (although telling someone they have months left to live and immediately moving on to the next patient is something I may never get used to).

The ugly

Probably the least important thing on here, but a big part of my year nonetheless. My skin has been the worst it's ever been this year. It all started with my thinking that perhaps I should use sunscreen every day, seeing as how the sun here seemed so strong. Which is all well and good, but I unfortunately hadn't realised you were meant to remove sunscreen with makeup remover or something oil-based! My skin got worse and worse and I didn't understand why, so I started watching lots of skincare stuff on YouTube, and it was there that I found out what I was doing wrong/fell down the rabbit hole. I've learnt so much stuff! I know about retinol, the difference between AHAs and BHAs, what AHAs and BHAs even are, how great niacinamide is, and why I'll probably never use a mineral sunscreen (the white cast). I also got sucked into the Korean skincare world, so I can reel off brand names and their specific lines, and talk about K-beauty ingredients that are all the rage like madecassoside and green tea and mugwort.


My skin is slowly, slowly recovering now that I'm taking better care of it. I won't go so far as to post my entire routine on here, but I think I'm using a good bunch of things and am pretty pleased with their effects. A few takeaways: Everyone should moisturise, expensive isn't necessarily better, and, for the love of all that is holy, remove your sunscreen with makeup remover or something oil-based and not just regular cleanser like what I did.

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2019 has certainly been a year of hardships and lessons learnt. Hopefully we've all grown and made progress in various aspects of our lives, and are on our way to becoming better people. Here's to a better twelve months, starting tomorrow! 2020, come at me!

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