We all have some sort of vision for our future, whether it’s a detailed, practically down-to-the-minute 5-year plan or a subconscious yearning to settle down someplace sunny or purchase a sailboat someday. Being a veterinarian has been my vision of the future for so long, it’s actually a part of my identity. It feels great that I’m currently living something I’ve thought about and hoped for, for so long.
But at the same time, it’s a little scary. Now I have no future plans, because those future plans are happening now, in the present. I feel adrift at times, not sure if I should pay attention to the demonstration of an equine lameness exam if I’m never going to work with horses. I find myself indecisive when it comes to summer plans—should I pursue a good-paying research job, if I’m not certain that that’s what I want to do with my life? Should I pursue new experiences like volunteering at an Ecuadorian wildlife preserve or an internship at a renowned oncology hospital to explore my career options? Or should I hone my hands-on skills with patients and clients working in a veterinary hospital because those skills are crucial for a general practitioner?
The only thing I do know is that future Roberta wants to live in rural New England, complete with snow, small towns, and lots of flannel. That’s the lifestyle I keep picturing for myself. So for now, I’m going to make decisions based on what kind of medicine will let me live that life. Of course, things will probably change. I’ll meet awesome people, learn new things, fall in love with new places. But that’s the cool thing about the future—it’s not set in stone.