Most people don’t realize this unless they are prompted by the question: How do you want your life to be meaningful? For some, the answer remains in the most common template: a job, a family, a house and possibly a sense of community. Their ambition is to provide for themselves and their loved ones, that is what makes life fulfilling to them. To me, a single goal is not enough. I feel like I can do more, like I should be doing more. Part of that is not healthy. I often get ahead of myself and take on too much. If you do that, if you spread yourself thin, you won’t be able to perform the way you are supposed to even on the tasks that your prioritize. Additionally, the most important thing I’ve recognized is not every endeavor I wish to pursue deserves my time.
The question I get asked most frequently on any of my social media platforms is about time management. How did I self-publish a book while studying pre-med in undergrad? How do I post about my makeup, clothes, stylistic choices while studying 4+ hours a day? Where did the idea to start WithinTheRaw merch come from and how did I make it a reality while conducting clinical research? So many of my interests appear to be polar opposites. But I’m not sure I would have realized that if it had not been pointed out to me. I am not the type of person who believes you need to let go of one thing to make room for another. Instead, I thrive on allowing myself to have multiple passions and instead of viewing them as a burden or disservice, instead of worrying that I don’t fit in just one category, I embrace it.
Where does the difference come from? Your down time. The easiest example I can provide is beginning WithinTheRaw as a fashion blog in high school and really focusing in on it during my first year of undergrad. I have loved clothes, fashion and being able to style myself since I was a little girl. So that part, I have had a lot of practice with. My first year of undergrad was the easiest. It left me with a lot of time that I did use to hang out with friends, relax, speak to my family and just take care of myself. But part of what I did to take care of myself is enjoy dressing up. Searching both online and in stores for deals, trendy pieces to put together and once I found them- getting dolled up to shoot them with a photographer was fun. It was not a chore, it was not taxing. I did not come home from it feeling exhausted and as though I committed myself to a second job. It left me on a high. I felt satisfied, content, and peaceful. So even if it was just once a week, I made time for it. I woke up a little earlier, I finished assignments ahead of time so I could spend the afternoon shooting. It’s not that the activity was not time-consuming, it absolutely was. But it was productive and well-managed and therefore I did not mind.
For those of you who feel like they want to take on so much, they don’t even know where to start, ask yourself: why am I pursuing what I am pursuing? You have to ensure that everything you take on, you do so because you genuinely find interest in it. It may challenge you, it may frustrate you, but you have to have a calling towards it. Do not take on a hobby or activity because you see a lot of others doing so. Do not do it because it seems attainable or as though it will benefit you in any way other than personally. It’s not worth it. Studying and pursuing medicine never felt like an obligation for me because no one told me to choose it. I chose it for myself out of my sheer desire to become a practicing physician. (InshaAllah!) I started writing in high school, I took creative writing classes as electives and began to depend on writing short stories and poetry as a form of release. Turning it into a publication is for another blog post, but the point is I did not do it because I wanted to be a published author, although saying that is awesome. I did not do it with anything else in mind other than wanting to share my work with fellow authors, writers, readers and artists.
It’s easy to feel disorganized and distraught when you have more than one serious passion. I’m feeling it right now despite managing the same passions for the past six years. I decided to start blogging properly again, something I haven’t taken on in a while. It’s a bridge I created because now that I’m in medical school- I don’t have time to write as creatively as I want. I’m still adjusting. But I still want to write. The best reflection of my thoughts and what I’m learning in this journey can be reflected through this blog. I will not force myself to write creatively, ever. Once my mind and body have adjusted to this new environment, my creativity will follow.
The reason I am not panicking or yearning for myself to be able to write as previously mentioned or work on Warfare is because as soon as I realized I have multiple interests, I ranked them. In terms of priority. This is the most important thing you can do for yourself. It will remind you what has to wait and what can’t. It will keep you grounded and away from giving too much of yourself to things that won’t matter in the long-run. For me, the top priority has always been practicing medicine. Becoming a doctor, being a doctor is my first and foremost aspiration in life. Everything else comes second. That’s why at 22, just 6 months after I graduated from undergrad, I started my medical career. I look forward to taking every reader on this journey with me!