A Twinge Of Regret

Johns Hopkins hospital

I recently returned from a wonderful pediatric conference at Johns Hopkins. In addition to experiencing the joy of learning about new research findings, I also experienced the not-so-joyful “what ifs.”

You see, when I was a young pup, Johns Hopkins was my dream medical school. But as anyone who’s put him or herself through college knows, when the bucks aren’t there, neither are you.

Don’t get me wrong, my in-state school was great, and our clinical training was top-notch. Thanks to a low number of residents with whom to compete, we medical students got the opportunity to first-assist on surgeries, deliver babies, and work one-on-one with attendings.

But at the same time, primary care was pedaled like cough syrup. As such, I never realized my love of research until only a short time ago.

Which is what led to my case of “what if.”

But hey, at least I bought a mug…

JH mug 2

 

Enough about me. Is there something you wanted to pursue but couldn’t? Or for those who don’t want to think too hard (it’s Monday, after all), what was the last mug you bought?

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Rubin4Carrie Rubin is the author of The Seneca Scourgea medical thriller. For full bio, click here.

295 Responses to “A Twinge Of Regret”

  1. Main Street Musings Blog

    It’s unfortunate that education is driven by economics in our country. I think it’s so cool that you went through med school though, what a great field to work in. My regret is that I’m not stronger in science and couldn’t pursue medicine myself!

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    • Carrie Rubin

      It is a good field in that there are always jobs. Even though I don’t plan to return to clinical work, there are always other avenues in healthcare to pursue. Thanks. 🙂

      Like

  2. My Inner Chick

    New here, but I’ll be back. Great mug! At least you got that!!

    The only thing I’ve ever wanted to peruse is writing…

    Happy Easter.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thank you for visiting! Writing is definitely something I would’ve regretted had I not pursued it.

      Happy Easter to you, too!

      Like

  3. Dr. Ken

    I guess it’s the writing thing that I’m slowly admitting to myself won’t happen. Kind of a bummer, but when I’m dead and gone people can read this blog and say, “Man, that guy was a weirdo.” And that makes me happy. What I can do, I guess, is buy a mug saying I’m a writer. No?

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      The last commenter said the last mug he bought was one that had the word ‘writer’ on it, so why not? 🙂

      And hey, there are worse things to be remembered as than weird once we’re gone, so go for it.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Like

  4. Pink Ninjabi

    Sooo cute! And for me that would be my monstrously sized Hello Kitty mug, in pink of course. Always wanted to be a doctor too!

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  5. pegoleg

    Carrie, I’d need to write a book. I try not to harbor regrets, but they glide into port in the middle of the night and dock themselves with an immovable half-hitch to my brain. (eh? eh?)

    I do tend to think of the road(s) not taken, but try not to get bogged down.

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    • Carrie Rubin

      That’s the way to go. No point letting it bog us down. For all we know, the paths we ended up taking were the better route.

      Like

  6. michellejoycebond

    Sometimes I wonder if I should’ve gone all the way and gotten my MFA in writing or a doctorate in English. I don’t despair the choice I made though because I get to work with so many wonderful kids. It’s just interesting to think of how different my life might have been. 🙂

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    • Carrie Rubin

      That’s how I tend to look at it. I know I used the word ‘regret’ in the blog title, but it’s not so much regret as it is just wondering where I’d be now if I’d made different choices. But I’m happy with where I ended up. 🙂

      Like

  7. djmatticus

    Mug – A Sierra Lodge mug from the Sierra Lodge hotel in Mammoth Lakes, CA. The Queen and I used to stay there for most of our trips up to go snowboarding, and I bought two mugs from them the last time we stayed there knowing it might be a long time before we stayed there again. The arrival of the little prince was going to see to that.

    I’ve had so many dreams over the years that I’ve half chased and then forgotten… But, the biggest what if is probably when I first started DJ’ing… The significant other in my life at that time wasn’t very supportive of me pursuing it as a career and because she was important to me at the time, I backed away from putting in the time and building the social network that was required to be successful. I still played gigs and had a blast, but I never came close to be a professional at it…

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      What an interesting tidbit to learn about you. I always wondered how people branched out into something like that (DJ’ing). I imagine it takes a lot of networking and generating word-of-mouth. Kind of like book promotion, I guess!

      Sierra Lodge—That has such a nice, relaxing ring to it.

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      • djmatticus

        They had a lovely lounge with a roaring fireplace going most of the time… Little kitchenettes in the rooms and plenty of space to stretch tired legs. It was a nice home away from home.

        Like

  8. Noted in Nashville

    I used to want to pursue buying a coffee mug from every city I ever visited, but that seemed like an awful lot of work. True story. 🙂

    Like

      • Noted in Nashville

        One Christmas, Big D and I received coffee mugs with cats on them. We realized we had become “those people” – the crazy cat people with a coffee addiction. 🙂

        Like

  9. Britt Skrabanek

    These days I feel like I should be wearing a beauty queen sash that says “what if”. I’m back in the unemployment game, applying for oddball jobs, and interviewing for even odder jobs to get some dough coming in. And, the Yoga teacher and writer are in there somewhere trying to shine through. There’s nothing more disheartening than job rejections and mind-numbing searches to take you down a notch or two.

    Oh, well. Gotta keep on truckin’!

    Haven’t bought any for a while, but the last mugs to join our family came as a new client gift from our hair salon in Milwaukee. : )

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Hopefully the mug didn’t come with any stray hairs. 😉

      I wish you well with the job-hunting. I’m sure it’s frustrating, especially while you’re still settling in from a move. But given your positive attitude and what appears to be a great work ethic, any place of employment would be crazy not to take you!

      Like

      • Britt Skrabanek

        Aw thanks, honey! I’m definitely using my blog as an integral part of my resume. This crazy work we writers do in our spare time is worth mentioning. If nothing else, I can communicate for crying out loud! We’ll see what happens. : )

        Like

  10. morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer

    My husband did his psychiatric training at Hopkins; it is truly quite the place. They paid him about $400 a month back then, and I supported us with my huge salary as a speech therapist in the Baltimore school system. I started at $4,500.00 a year!!!

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Oh, wow, that’s quite the salary! I was so impressed with the complex. It’s huge now–so many buildings, what with the medical school and research centers nearby. Loved it.

      Like

  11. Kourtney Heintz

    Last mug was at the airport in Phoenix for Arizona. For me it was working in China. Then I went to visit 3 years ago and realized that I no longer wanted to do that. Sometimes dreams change. And sometimes better ones awaken. 🙂

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    • Carrie Rubin

      Yes, they do. In fact, it was nice timing that after my week of what-ifs I learned I advanced to the quarter-finals in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel contest. Helped quash those other what-ifs a bit. Of course, now I’m thinking, “What if I could make it to the semi-finals?…” as well as “What if I don’t?…” 😉

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      • Kourtney Heintz

        Aw perfect timing indeed! 🙂 Congrats! Woohoo! That will help with the agent search. Even if you stop at the quarterfinals you made it that far and that’s huge. If you make it to the semifinals that’s ever awesomer. But the waiting is really hard–you can’t help wondering and er, mildly obsessing over the possible outcomes. At least, I couldn’t. 🙂

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  12. Curt Mekemson

    Question two was easy. I bought a coffee mug on Kodiak Island that featured bears and local rock art. As for research, I once asked myself a similar question. I had decided that tobacco use in movies encouraged kids to smoke so I put together a group of teenagers to review the amount of tobacco in movies. We would then release the data to the public and actually built an international effort to reduce tobacco in movies. My point, Carrie, is that I fell in love with research and never had a clue before then that it could be so fascinating. I thought to myself, wow, this could have been a different career path. –Curt

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    • Carrie Rubin

      Good area of research to focus on! I’ve read several studies along that line. There is an association with teenage smoking and media portrayal of the habit, which is why it’s frustrating to see cigarettes creeping back into movies, particularly PG-13 ones. I’d hoped the days of trying to make the habit look cool were behind us. Unfortunately, they’re not.

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      • Curt Mekemson

        I wrote a paper on the tobacco industry efforts to influence Hollywood, Carrie, using original tobacco industry papers at UCSF and then published it along with Stan Glantz in the Tobacco Control Journal. The tobacco industry certainly understood the correlation! The article, BTW, generated over a thousand media stories world-wide. I was traveling through New Zealand at the time and had to carry a satellite phone. LOL –Curt

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  13. Jill Pinnella Corso

    I lol’d at your alternate question. I got a giant Central Perk mug for Christmas last year, so let’s count that.

    I was an accounting major. I’m lucky to have a lot of job opportunities but I often wonder if I should have taken a risk on something more fun. The multiverse theory comforts me: somewhere, there’s a Jill that has taken the optimal path (whatever that might be), and good for her.

    Like

  14. Smaktakula

    I often play the “what if game.” I think within certain limits such exercises are valuable, and I’m a fan of directed introspection. “The unexamined life is not worth living,” after all.

    However, I’m not a big fan of regrets. I have a very few, but they’re not about what opportunities I took or didn’t take, but rather how I treated people. The college I attended was not my first choice. I wanted to go to the University of Washington, which was only an hour away from my mom’s house and all my friends, but even with my SATs, my 2.47 GPA just didn’t cut it.

    I was disappointed that I had to go to school 1,000 miles away, at a place I’d barely heard of. Five years later I had a first-rate education (better than I would have recieved at the U, I think, excepting the hard sciences), life-long friends of the calliber I never believed I would have, and, although I didn’t know it, I had met the woman who would become my wife and give me three awesome children.

    It irritates some people to hear this, but I think things happen for a reason–if you WANT there to be a reason. You’re disappointed that you didn’t go to Johns Hopkins (which is Maryland of all places, a state that supported the odious institution of slavery, but was too much of a p**** to secede with the rest of the Confederacy). Well, I wonder where you met your husband?

    “Ha!” You might say, “I met him as an undergrad, so I’m perfectly justified in having regrets about Johns Hoplins.” Maybe. But if that’s the case, would you have stayed together during your “wilderness years.” Maybe, maybe not.

    It seems to me that you have a pretty good life, Connie. That life is the sum of all your choices, even the ones you might think you regret.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Oh, don’t get me wrong; I’m not complaining. And like you, I see them more as “what ifs,” not regrets. I think I got a stronger clinical training at my med school, and I wouldn’t necessarily trade that. Plus, now that I have gotten into some research (or at least I had before I took this writing hiatus), I have all that clinical experience to draw from. But as I was sitting in lectures, listening to all the newest research, I couldn’t help but wonder where I’d be had I started the process sooner.

      Interesting to read about your experiences. Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

      Like

      • Smaktakula

        Oh, I didn’t think you were complaining. One critera for having a nice life, in my opinion, is knowing that you have a nice life. However, the idea of regrets does touch on a theme which has become, I think, all-too-common in contemporary society–that of envious dissatisfaction. So many people are focusing on what is wrong with their lives, and the degree to which other people’s lives are supposedly “better” than theirs (the metric by which this is judged is most often income), and that’s no way to live.

        I believe that envy, handled correctly, is a positive emotion. If, for example, I’m envious that you have a lovely home and I do not, and that envy spurs me to reprioritize my life and work for the things I want, then it’s a good thing. But when my envy makes me resentful and becomes an obstacle to my happiness, it is a poisonous thing.

        I just think that if more people concentrated on what is good and beautiful in their lives they would be a lot happier.

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        • Carrie Rubin

          Couldn’t agree more. I do believe to a large extent we make our own happiness, and jealousy and negativity just get in the way of that.

          Like

  15. Kelley

    Long,long ago, I wanted to be a lawyer & wonder where I’d be today had I pursued that. No regrets but it is fun to wonder.

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    • Carrie Rubin

      Yes, I’m with you–they’re not so much regrets as they are simple wonderings. On the other hand, had I not taken time to get serious about my writing, now THAT I would have regretted someday.

      Thanks, Kelley. Or should I say Kelley, Esq. 😉

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    • Carrie Rubin

      Exactly. And I still got to delve into research more recently (when I worked on my public health masters), so I now have some background for when I go back. Thanks. 🙂

      Like

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