Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mrs. Dentist

If you've never heard the words "I hate you" spoken from the heart by a stranger then you've never truly lived.  So why did I become a dentist?  young and stupid are the words that come to mind.  I left for college when I was 17 and there's very few people who really know what they want to do in life at that age, me included.  I had some dental work done and thought "I can do this...help others and have a sweet schedule..." and that's basically how that went.  I knew absolutely nothing about what I would learn or be expected to do.  In short, I was clueless.  I did end up graduating from dental school in may 1993 and it was a great honor and certainly something to be proud of.  I do have to remind myself of that and seem to belittle it quite often.  People don't appreciate the dentist.  We are right up there with used car salesmen and plumbers trying to rip you off and charge too much at the same time.  I can't tell you how many times I was told "well, looks like I'm paying for your car" or "looks like I'm paying for your new house" etc... not "well, looks like I'm paying for your expertise so you can pay off your school loans"...nope, never heard that one.  It hurts at first, then you just turn into a hard ass with very thick skin because you have to or you won't make it through another day.  When the recession hit in 2008 it had a major negative affect on dentists.  Our world was turned upside down like so many others in America.  I prefer not to go into a lot of detail about the 2 years that followed but I will say that we sold a lot of our belongings and moved out of our home of 10 years.  To say they were "trying times" is somewhat of an understatement but that's what they were.  Since then I've tried to reinvent myself without a lot of success!  It seems that dentistry and my identity go hand in hand because I feel lost without it but loathe it at the same time...
I ponder how I ended up where I am now on a daily basis.  I'm never satisfied and I think it's because I measure success monetarily.  Are you a success when you complete 4 years of professional school and toss your cap in the air?  The answer is: only if you think you are.

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