The End of a Dream

End of a dream

I was at Hotel Saravana Bhavan having breakfast one morning with one of my best friends of over 25 years.

This man is one of the fortunate few in my medical class who got to discover the specialty he loves, chose to work in it, and enjoys his daily routine. But he hasn’t yet received the highest degree in that branch of medicine.

Sipping a hot cup of coffee, he was recounting the early days of his medical career, and mentioned how he first planned to take the qualifying board exam in his specialty.

“When was this?” I asked.

“1998.”

For the next few minutes, the words he spoke barely registered in my mind. I sat in shocked amazement, even horror, as the reality of that date sunk in.

It had been 15 years.

He still hadn’t taken that board exam.

Over this time, I (along with many other friends) had nagged him about it. Always the reply was, “I’m going to do it – soon” or “I’ve applied this year”.

And, just like that, a decade and a half had flown by.

FIFTEEN YEARS.

Wow!

A poignant quote came to mind. “The opposite of love is not hate. It’s indifference.”

I thought about the many things – ideas and plans, projects and activities, ambitions and desires – that I, too, had shelved for a “tomorrow that never comes”.

Some were put off for a few weeks, others for years.

I’d never before taken stock. Now I would.

As soon as I got back home, I pulled out a moleskin diary and started writing in it, furiously. Soon, there were 9 entries. I’ve started working on two of them already.

No more waiting until “tomorrow”.

Because the end of a dream is not its death… it’s learning to live without it.

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