Sunday, April 3, 2016

What I talk about when I talk about dentistry

It's beautiful April. The weather's nice enough that L and I are walking everywhere. Flowers are blooming in Rittenhouse Square in the most gorgeous way. We've been biking all over town, hoping our groceries will fit into our bike baskets. 

The big question for me has been: how much of dentistry plays into my identity? I mentioned it briefly in my last post and lately, I've been obsessed with this question. Examining myself during times when I'm not at work, constantly checking in to see if dentistry is on my mind...



I am beyond excited for my job next year (exhibit a: my little gushy post on Instagram)- but as usual, I have a bunch of questions: How much of my job will be my identity? Because we all love to ask that question: what do you do? If someone were to ask me what I'd been up to, I'd reply with all sorts of dental school news. Working on this case, with this interesting occlusion, etc etc...  


In the grocery line yesterday I was staring at a lady's arthritic hands-- very intently-- because it scared me to no end, that to me equals end of my career. To have a career that is very dependent on my body feels fragile, just as I'm sure athletes do as they get older, but I entered this profession thinking my brain was on the line. To know that my body is a very important vehicle for delivering that knowledge makes me nervous.

In other career-related thoughts, I've been thinking about chopping my hair into a bob. This is from college when I had my hair in a mushroom bob (we're in New Orleans for a lacrosse tournament!). To signal to the world and (more) to myself that graduation is a new beginning, entry into the grown-up world. New working dentist life.


I think to myself now, something as personal as a haircut shouldn't care about your career! This signals that I really do see myself as "Yesle the dentist", that this is a Venn diagram with a big overlap. As a perpetual dilettante who does many things (even in college I had lacrosse, swimming, running--  I was never good at any one of them) to have such a big CHUNK of my efforts/time devoted to this thing called dentistry.... it's a new concept and even after almost-four years of dental school, still novel.

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