This is my first weekend off -- and in town -- since April 25. Holy cow. To be honest, the only reason I didn't sign up for a moonlighting shift was because I had 50/50 planned on going home to Chicago to see my parents and sister. I opted to stay back because I've got a presentation, a grant and a research proposal due in a week and a half.
Wow, April 25. That's so sad. Half of those weekends I was working for my fellowship, but the other half was moonlighting. I don't think people fully understand medical education. You work like a dog in med school to get good grades, learn the material and get to the residency you want. Then, residency is (at first) a lot of overnight call working 24-30 hours at a stretch. When you get to be in your final year of residency, you have less call and more consults/clinics - that means more 8a-6p type hours. So, you start moonlighting. Working extra clinic shifts at night, covering for attendings to make extra cash. At first, it's not a big deal, because you're so USED to working all the time. Now that you have free time, it's easy to give it up for some extra money, because you're not used to having the free time.
Then it's a vicious cycle: you get used to having the extra money, so you can't stop moonlighting, but you're so tired you want to stop, but if you stop you can't pay the new car payment or go visit your folks, etc. You establish a new income for yourself that you can't let go.
Well, I'm taking the weekend off. I'm nearly done with all of my work, and I'm going to have a day filled with no medical stuff tomorrow. I'm going for a long run in the morning. I'm going to enjoy a cup of coffee with my husband. I'm going to church for the first time in a loooong time. I'm going to look for a new satchel for work. I might even go to a cafe and read a book for fun. Crazy!!
I'm getting more and more of the mindset that life is for living. Not for working. If I never see the pyramids in Egypt because I didn't want to work X number of extra shifts, then so be it. I'll enjoy my friends and family right where I am. Life is too short to be living for tomorrow. Time to live for today.