Thursday, January 3, 2013

Guest Post: New Year's Revelations

Amanda Chatel at thegloss.com said, Forget New Year’s Resolutions. Do revelations instead—what did you learn in 2012? So, here goes.

1. I can go to Africa
I’ve wanted to go for over a decade, but first I had to get into medical school. Secondly, I wanted to stay close to my then-boyfriend, now-husband. Thirdly, I wanted to pay the mortgage and have kids. And in 2012…hey, I made it to South Africa and Swaziland!
Now I’m dreaming about traveling with my family to Asia and Africa. Because it’s doable, right?

2. I can muscle my way back into the emergency room
I started back in October 2011, but I increased my shifts after my trip to Africa. And it was fun. Also challenging, irritating, and exhausting, but mostly fun.

3. I can do yoga every day
Maybe just a few minutes. Maybe an hour. But I tried, every day. For a few weeks, I gave myself a sticker every day that I showed up at the mat. Why? Well, partly because I gained a few pounds after I weaned my daughter. Note: I plump up when I’m pregnant, but breastfeeding sheds it all and then some. Unfortunately, once I stopped nursing her to go to Africa, I couldn’t eat like a linebacker anymore. But I still wanted to eat like a frat boy, at least. So I did more yoga, which I truly enjoy and need to make more time for anyway, and at least I can wear my skinny-cut pants again. Some of them better than others.

4. I can write a new medical thriller
Okay, it’s just a draft. Terminally Ill is not ready for prime time, or even a beta reader. But I’d told myself I couldn’t plot out a medical thriller while my brain cells were torn between my work and family—until I decided to just do it. And that was fun, too.

5. We can do a fundraiser for rhinos
We raised almost $1500, splitting the money between reducing demand (WildAid) and groups actively protecting rhinos on the ground (Wildlands Conservation Trust, SanWild, WWF-SA, all of whom sent me audit reports), with a small amount to WWF-Canada/TRAFFIC. In 2013, we will send an SLR camera to CPIN to spy on poachers and I will send a donation to Helping Rhinos as well.
Will it do any lasting good? I don’t know. But when I hear about poachers paralyzing rhinos, hacking their faces off, and leaving them to suffer and die, I think, At least we did something. We didn’t just shrug or wring our hands.

6. I can relax.
I almost forgot this one, and it’s a biggie. My mother is the kind of person who never sits down. While the rest of my family watched a movie, she’d make a great show of resisting before ironing AND watching the movie. But I’ve been the same way, working maniacally—until this year. On Sex and The City, Carrie once said, “In New York, they say you're always looking for a job, a boyfriend, or an apartment” I was always working hard! hard! hard! on school/medicine, having kids, and writing. If one or two out of three was going well, I’d just go nuts on the missing link, most recently the writing.

Now that I know a few thousand people have paid for my words, I can relax a little. Bestseller Jennifer Crusie says you should write like a rat with an island, like you have faith you will be rescued, i.e. published. Well, I struggled to make myself have that faith. Didn’t work. But now that I know my books are out there and people buy them sometimes—hooray. Elizabeth Gilbert wrote, “My goal was to publish something (anything, anywhere) before I died.” I guess my subconscious goal was to have people around the world read my words before I died. So now I can just lie down and watch Neflix sometimes. Which I like, even if I feel conflicted about it. But, like Ray Bradbury wrote, “Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.”

What were your New Year’s Revelations?




Melissa Yuan-Innes (ACLS) is an emergency physician who runs codes and writes prescriptions in Eastern Ontario, Canada. She also prides herself on her life outside the hospital: her two kids (6 and 2 years old), her high school sweetheart-turned-husband, and her nascent writing career. www.melissayuaninnes.com

15 comments:

  1. I love your reveleations, Melissa. Yay on the Africa trip. That is a place I want to go. Unfortunately, DH isn't thrilled as he lived there for four years. Congrats on staring the next thriller too. Happy New Year to you and your family.

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    1. Maggie, I ended up going with a group and leaving DH at home. Maybe you could do the same? Happy New Years to you and yours!

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  2. Sounds like you had an awesome year, Melissa! And if you need an extra beta reader for your thriller, feel free to call on me!

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    1. Ooh, Fizzy, thanks! I'd be interested in hearing your comments, actually.

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    3. You know my email, right?

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  3. This is an great New Year post, Melissa! I too have re-discovered and am addicted to yoga to balance me in the last two years. It's my not-wine wine (although wine is good too). I'm traveling a lot more within the country but you are inspiring me to take a leap and go global someday. My dream is to take my kids on an Alaskan cruise in the next couple of years.

    This post made me want to move to your neighborhood and help you save the rhinos, ha ha. At the very least I'll definitely check out your website/writing.

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    1. Ooh, Gizabeth, I think you're a kindred spirit (do you know Anne of Green Gables, too)? I definitely prefer yoga to wine. I've heard a lot of great things about Alaskan cruises, too.

      Please come and help me save the rhinos! I wish I'd bought the rhino car mirror covers when I was in South Africa, even though people here would be like, huh? (That reminds me of Cutter and her hoodie for Trayvon...it's worth doing things just to raise awareness.)

      Thanks for checking me out, you hot pathologist, you. :)

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    2. My goal and mission in life, for the past three years, has been to get my daughter as addicted to Anne of Green Gables as I was. She has a great taste for many classics, but I have yet to get her into this series! I even tried to read it as her chapter book a few years ago and she made me bail. Sigh. Will try again this year. What age were we when we fell in love with those books? Cecilia (middle name Ann, like me) is 9. I still have hope, right?

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    3. OK I just skimmed your reviews and read something about a book with the most wall-to-wall sex - you've got my attention! Oh and all the freaking awards are pretty impressive, too:). All I asked for for Christmas from family was gift cards for books and I racked up quite a stash - I'll definitely add you to the (long) list!

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    4. Thanks, Gizabeth! I think there's a disclaimer that the sex in The List starts after page 100, but is fairly consistent thereafter. :) Hope you like it, and the rest of your yummy Christmas stash. Readers rock!

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  4. Fantastic, Melissa! What a great idea to list your New Year's revelations from the previous year. I also aspire to juggle writing, a family and a career in medicine. It's a relief to know that it can be done. And congrats on finally making it to Africa! I'm serving in Peace Corps Thailand right now but my heart yearns to go to Africa one day.

    julia946.wordpress.com

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    1. Julia, my next big goal is SE Asia, including Thailand. We should swap stories. :) What a beautiful blog, digging your quills into the openings.
      Yep, writing, family, and medicine are totally doable, depending on your workload, your kids, your specialty, and your partner. Good luck!

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