As a disillusioned physician who felt like I was selling my soul in order to keep the stability of a job within the insurance-based US health care system that demanded that I see 40 patients a day, I longed for a different life. As a young woman, I thought medicine was my calling. For me, medicine was a spiritual practice. You practice medicine like you practice yoga or meditation, like you won’t ever fully master it. As a doctor, I felt grateful to have the opportunity to have a front row seat on life, and as an OB/GYN, I felt particularly blessed the have the opportunity to greet the newly incarnated souls right as they entered the world.
But over time, I began to doubt my calling. Although I now realize how common my feelings were, at the time, I felt different and isolated among other doctors. Even though I felt called to medicine at the age of seven, I came to think I had made a mistake. I was the sole provider for my family, with a husband and a newborn to support, but I wound up quitting medicine at the ripe old age of 37.
It took me nine months to realize you can quit your job, but you can’t quit your calling. I’ve since realized you can use your medical education in countless ways that don’t require seeing forty patients per day. I thought there was only one way to be a doctor. You either followed the blueprint, or you quit. I now realize some of the happiest, most successful doctors are creating mission, purpose, and abundance using what they learned from becoming a doctor to serve in other ways. In case you or someone you love resonates with the archetype of the true healer but feels frustrated with the current system, I want to share with you some of the creative career choices of doctors I’ve met since leaving conventional medicine to pursue a writing career.