BECAUSE I AM.
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The Good Fight
"We must never stop dreaming. Dreams provide nourishment for the soul, just as a meal does for the body. Many times in our lives we see our dreams shattered and our desires frustrated, but we have to continue dreaming. If we don’t, our soul dies
‘The Good Fight is the one we Fight because our heart asks it of us. The Good Fight is the one that’s fought in the name of our dreams. When we are young our dreams first explode inside us with all of their force, we are very courageous, but we haven’t yet learned how to Fight. With great effort, we learn how to Fight, but by then we no longer have the courage to go into combat. So we turn against ourselves and do battle within. We become our own worst enemy. We say that our dreams were childish, or too difficult to realize, or the result or our not having known enough about life. We kill our dreams because we are afraid to Fight the Good Fight."
- Paulo Coelho, The Pilgrimage (1987)
i am always held at awe with whatever Paulo Coelho says. his choice of words, the profoundness of his ideas which he magnificently conveys and the limitless positive energy which seeps out of every word that comes from his pen.
i got to read this passage about The Good Fight on Coelho's blog, and i read it back in December of last year, when i was finding myself drowning in medical school. by that time i had already found myself in deep water; i wasn't performing to the high standards i have set upon myself, i disappointed not only myself but my parents as well, and the person i love was having difficulty in coping with the demanding schedule the school has given me.
being a doctor was my absolute childhood dream. when i was a child i wanted to be whatever my mom was because i thought her job was cool. she was a nurse, so i brought it upon myself to become a doctor, because in my little mind that was male equivalent of whatever my mom was doing (which was being a nurse).
that idea stuck, and it hasn't left my mind ever since.
i remember doing the entrance interview for La Salle Med, when my interviewer posed me that question i had trained myself of answering: "with a pre-med course as (X), why did you still choose to pursue medical school?"
a little background storytelling must be done first before i answer that question. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Science, Major in Development Studies (previously referred to as X), which is a direct and polar opposite of any science course which would be a better pre-medical degree. now, i could give a plethora of rationalizations for sticking to the course which allowed me to enter college but suffice to say, my undergraduate course has given me a unique perspective of seeing the bleak situation of our country from the eyes of the toiling masses, the people most affected by the crass abuse and corruption brought upon by the people in authority. it strengthened my resolve to enter the vocation of healing, of becoming the best doctor i could be. i firmly believe that a healthy population is a productive population, and as future doctors me and my colleagues should be held responsible as stewards of our nation's health.
i vividly remembered what i said to the good doctor who asked me why i continued to medical school.
"it was my dream. and i am going to use every faculty, every skill, every ounce of talent and willpower that i have to make it come true."
if you take a cursory look at it, you could very much conclude that an 8 year old child can muster the same response as what i've said. looking back, i remember a lot of people i know who said back in grade school that they wanted to become doctors, yet seeing them now, a lot of them changed directions. i can only count in my fingers those who were intrepid enough to follow their dreams.
making dreams come true seems such a childish concept, yet so few people have the audacity to chase down their dreams and make them come true. being a child back then, nothing was impossible. we dream of becoming superheroes, being able to blast lasers from our eyes, we want to become mermaids or princesses so that someday a prince will come and sweep us out of our feet, or we dream of traveling around the world, enjoy the view and just suck it all up and marvel how our world is so awesome.
but then we grow up, and we learn to aspire for other things which are a little bit more feasible for us.
but i think that's just freaking wrong.
okay, so there's no way that i know of in which you can become a mermaid, or be someone who shoots lasers from his/her eyes, but giving up on a dream and regretting to live it afterwards? that's just sad to hear.
i remember having a really, really short chat with an old high school classmate in which he/she expressed his/her frustration in not pursuing a medical career. i told him/her that it's never too late and he/she should never give up on the dream. whenever i hear somebody say that he/she is a frustrated singer, writer, dancer, or a frustrated anything, i somehow grit my teeth because this person is not making any sense to me.
why give up? why let the passion that stroked the flames of interest wane and shimmer in the first place? we should always fight the good fight, like Coelho said. as children, we always took the road which had the most adventure, the most thrill, the scenic route. yung may maraming pwedeng makita at maranasan. but as we grow up and acquire the tools needed to make our dreams come true, we somehow find reasons to back away from taking on the journey of fulfilling them. be it frustration, embarrassment or just plain old fear of failure, most of us are continuously steered away from what we originally wanted. we take lots of steps forward, yet odds are we're veering away from the sole reason that we chose our paths in the first place.
we find a million reasons to give up, but we struggle to find that one single reason which can get us over the hump. i cannot remember how many times i have read these words while scouring the internet, and i think people tend to forget what started their lives in the first place.
for me, it all started in me trying to emulate my mother. but it now evolved into something bigger. i wanted to help others now. help heal the country, one fellow countryman at a time.
people tend to forget about their dreams and aspirations. it all starts there. all of us have them. they are the most primal reasons why we study, or take classes in the summer, or enrich ourselves and get better or learn something new if we have the time. dreams are the fuel to which our life rockets depend on. without our dreams, we may spiral down and degenerate, living our lives day-to-day without any direction or purpose. nobody wants that.
sometimes in our lives, an ounce of courage is all that we need. that ounce which can be just enough to compel us to take the leap of faith, and hunt down everything that we aspire for ourselves and for the people close to us.
BE ALL THAT YOU CAN BE.
i love these six words. indeed, we only get one life, and it is imperative for us to live it to the fullest.
in our earthly lives any dream, goal or aspiration, no matter how little, is worthy enough to be fulfilled. so seize the day, and make it count because each day should be able to bring you closer to making it true.
ever since i was a child i knew it in my gut that i wanted to be a doctor. now i am glad to say that i am closer than ever to living my dream. i hope you incessantly make yours come true as well.
don't give up. fight the good fight.
(damn, this one is looong. i probably talked too much.)