I’m In a Constant No Win Situation

thrift store guilt

Last week, I ran errands with Re’uth while Selah was at preschool.  Errands went faster than expected, and I was ready to pick Selah up 15 minutes early.  What to do with an extra 15 minutes of time with only one SLEEPING child in tow?  The options I gave myself were to peruse Value Village for 15 minutes or study x-ray stuff in the car for 15 minutes while I parked outside preschool.  Going to the thrift store meant waking her up, of course, but studying meant letting her snooze.

I had a final exam on the x-ray stuff the next day, so what I was supposed to choose was studying in the car.  When you go to medical school and you have two babies, you need to be creative with your time because you have much less of it to study.

My Fun Side said that I should go to Value Village.  Although she has been silent for many serious years, I’m starting to hear her voice again.  This particular day, I paid attention to her, and my Studying Self thought it could use a break.

happy to get a break

I woke up Re’uth, strapped her in the Ergo, and loitered the dirty isles.  I found nothing.  No longer was I reveling in the break.  My Triple A Personality told me that the trip was worthless and unproductive.  She even didn’t ask me if I enjoyed it because she measures everything in terms of productivity, and has no consideration for pleasure.  I did enjoy it because I never get to do that kind of stuff.

get back to work

Had I studied in the car instead, I most likely would have been too sleepy to study well.  The night before I had been up until 1 am (terrible, I know).  I felt drowsy and was resisting the urge to slurp up the joe.  If I tried to study the x-ray stuff on this kind of brain I probably would have fallen asleep or given in to Instagram (my new online junking addiction).  If this happened, choosing to “study” would have still resulted in Triple A Personality’s tsk tsk finger.

Then I’d feel guilty for “wasting” time in the car, since of course, there would be nothing productive to show for it.  Triple A Personality would have said, “You should have gone to Value Village!  It would have been more productive!”

Triple A Personality never lets me win.  What that really means is that I set myself up for a no win situation, over and over and over.

I couldn’t ever imagine responding to a friend like this:


Yet, that’s how I treat myself every single day.

You know what? I got a 100% on the final I “should have” studied for during that 15 minute pocket of time.  Take that, Triple A.  Maybe what I needed most was a break.

What are your secrets to letting yourself win?  Have you caught yourself in a constant no win situation with yourself?  If so, how can you give yourself a break?

Thanks for reading! Enter your email to send new articles directly to your inbox:

5 Responses

  1. Erika

    Haha, you gotta give yourself breaks Archer. Otherwise your adrenals will be so shot once boards are over that you’ll never have energy to actually see patients. Isn’t there research showing that taking small frequent breaks actually increases retention?


    Dr. Archer

    Erika – thanks for your encouragement! Yes, I do need to give myself breaks, and YES, I’m sure there’s research on how it benefits retention. However, sometimes I feel like I take too many breaks! But that’s why I wrote this post… to tell myself its ok to take a break… even in the midst of having two children in medical school! Now that I am getting closer to graduation, my motivation to study has been low.


  2. Rose Rothermel

    I think you made the right decision! You never know what you’ll find in a thrift store- maybe alot of goodies,but you will never know unless you look!


  3. Rachelle Price

    hahaaha…I love the photo creativity and your honesty Archer. I know you and you are great! I’m glad you gave yourself a break…and it wasn’t useless…maybe the point was actually to have “nothing” to “show” for it, but you just needed some freedom to do what you wanted. And thanks for making time for friends like me (not just studying). As I always coached myself in med school, there is so much MORE to being a doctor than studying and in the end, you are going to graduate and be a doctor (very soon now) so just keep living your life and the pieces that are supposed to fall into place will fall into place as you live each moment, one at a time. Love you!


    Dr. Archer

    Thanks, Rachelle! I like your thoughts! Yes, maybe the point was to have nothing to show for it! I like that. And thanks for the reminder that there’s so much more to being a doctor than studying!


Leave a Response

* Required