I know, I know. You’re thinking, “But Amalia, you’re an academic surgeon. You’re an adult. You’re going to…summer camp?”
Yes. Yes I am. And that stuff you are thinking about me being a responsible grown-up is exactly why I’m going to camp.
Those who know me well on a personal level know that I like adventures of the big and small variety. You also know that while I am absolutely passionate about my career I have always believed it is important to have more dimensions than a plate. Or, as I sometimes explain it to my mentees, “While you are in training, you’ll have lots of things pulling at you. Pick just one thing that you are absolutely passionate about and make sure that you hang on to that, no matter what.” For me during med school and residency, I chose singing in church choir as the one immovable. Other things remained important as well- reading literary fiction, cooking when I had time, running/ cycling- but choir was simply that time during the week when I mostly got a reprieve from being a medical student or resident, and I valued that respite.
I am increasingly seeing discussions in various venues about making time for your passions, having “recess” as part of your day, and our overall need for play as part of our lives- even as adults. I’ve been familiar with Stuart Brown’s great work on play for several years. Sure, it’s important for us as children, but it may be no less important for us as adults. It helps us stay healthier overall, it helps us be more creative- and ultimately, play does make us happy. It seems so simple.
But we get busy, and life gets busy. Deadlines, promises, demands.
When is the last time that you paused to play?
What were things that your younger self really loved doing? Drawing pictures? Running? Roller skating? Watercolors? Creating new dishes in the kitchen? Puddle jumping after rainstorms?
Why can’t you declare a recess to do them?
What if you blocked out some time- even as little as 5 minutes- to doodle, to write a poem, to go on a walk around the block looking for all of the yellow things you can find? What would that look like? What would it do for you?
And now that you’re curious, why aren’t you doing one of those things? While I love having you here reading my blog, I would love even more for you to go have a dance party in the living room.
Then get back to those responsibilities.
(For those wondering about my summer camp plans, I’m going to Cowgirl Yoga camp in Montana for 4 days. And I found out today from my Mom that my birthday present this year is a trip to Brave Girl Camp in Idaho. Because camp is awesome, even in your 40s.)