April 22, 2016 at around 3pm was not the exact hour I became a doctor. I’d been honored, medaled, robed, and diploma’d at that point; I’d been given my official title and a leather-bound piece of paper to go with it. But it was sometime in the past month and a half that essence-of-doctor started pumping out of my heart and into all my arteries and veins. Maybe you could liken it to a dimmer switch, where the light starts out a low glow. That low glow has been there since I wrote about a little light coming back on in my heart when I started my clinical training a year ago. But the significant brightening into full illumination took place while I was learning and living in Montana. I have no doubt it had something to do with living life by myself, and being back in the environment I love. Regular exposure to the type of clinical practice I seek was also clearly part of the process. As a definitive creature of the natural world, I thrive when I’m in a place with a wide sky, wind, and the very tangible feel of things, plants and animals living and dying. That happened when I went to Montana to finish my clinical training, and that crucial heart-opening definitely facilitated the illumination of “doctor” in me.
Now I sit here to write, a week into bearing the official title of Doctor. Recently, someone suggested that I now have clout because I am a doctor. I asked for time to grow into that title. I think what I really meant was that I’ll never have clout unless I earn it. Some folks place stake in a title and for them, that works. But in my little life I’ve met too many jerks with great big titles. So, now that I’m an official doctor on paper and am feeling like one on the inside too, I intend to just continue keepin’ on being me. At the moment, being me means basking in the great culmination of my recent efforts and spending some time fishing, sleeping, breathing fresh air, and otherwise embracing downtime.