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Wilkommen to my blog - my name is Karin Purshouse, and I'm a doctor in the UK. If you're looking for ramblings on life as a junior doctor, my attempts to dual-moonlight as a scientist and balancing all that madness with a life, you've come to the right place. I'm currently a doctor/research trainee in oncology after spending a year doing research in the USA. All original content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Monday, 23 December 2013

The Twelve Prays of Christmas

So as Christmas time comes around again, it's inevitably a time for reflection as I bask in a work-free Christmas and New Year. The last twelve months have been full of more downs, then ups, a further smattering of downs and another series of ups than I could ever have imagined when I blogged this time last year. Last year I spent the festive season donning my Christmas jumper on the surgical wards over Christmas nights, and then long days over New Year. This year I will be gladly nestled with friends and family, grateful for everything in my world.
So here are my twelve prays of Christmas (yes, I know it should be prayers, but that just doesn't rhyme as well…) - perhaps you have some to share too?

1) Spend more time with family - if you've got one, treasure it. If you're looking for one, give me a call and I'll adopt you into mine.

2) Think the best of others - when life gets stressful, it's easy to think someone's actions are selfish or mean-spirited - I'd like to think everyone is good, and sometimes it's pure insecurity that stops it coming across that way.

3) Be generous always - and I don't mean in a material sense. Be generous with time, friendship and love. Make the effort. Make a phone call. Send a card.  I got my first one this year from work, and I will treasure it always.

4) Put yourself in someone else's shoes and reflect on the view - I really wish I, and others, would do this more often.

5) Drink tea. Often. With friends. Cake is a bonus.

6) Do what you love - la vie est courte. I've just started a research block for the next four months. Big pay cut. Big learning curve. Absolutely LOVE it (and slightly scared about the acute medical job I am doing after that… will I remember how to be a doctor?! Watch this space…)

7) Seek adventures, preferably with friends - a lot of mine are getting married next year. What an adventure! I am seeking adventures abroad, but whatever your definition is, hunt them down and live them.

8) Get a hobby - I followed my resolutions from last year and play in an orchestra; I'm pretty rubbish, but hey ho - so lovely to tinkle out a tune!

9) Be a friend - and by this, I mean checking in on friends, and seeing how they are doing. I hope I am more pro-active about this since January, having realised how much easier it is sometimes to don the world's greatest game face.

10) Find peace - I found mine training for our Team Triathlon, particularly in long swims and runs. I also found it on beaches, and hence will be committing to a wetsuit-free outdoor swim every month of 2014. I've done my November (Northern Irish coast) and December (Tynemouth, Newcastle) swims already!

11) Let others in, and share who you are - I'd like to think I'm fairly open; others have described me as being like Shrek - many layers and it takes a while to find the centre. Bottom line is - be yourself and make room for someone else to learn about you. My biggest challenge, I think!

12) Give yourself a break - if 11) was my biggest challenge, 12) is my ongoing biggest battle. If I make one selfish prayer this Christmas time, it's for me to CHILL OUT and DO LESS.

So I don't know what 2014 will yield but it would be all too easy to look back at 2013 and hate it all. In January, I lost two wonderful friends.  But I remain epically proud of my friend who has surpassed all our expectations with her progress this year. The friends I shared that experience with were just one of the glowing, wonderful things about this year. I survived my first full year as a doctor. I was there to watch two wonderful couples get married. I made new friends, and consolidated lots of old ones.  I swam a mile and ran a half marathon. I have a beautiful baby niece and am blessed by a wonderful family. So count your lucky stars this Christmas and have a good one!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The love is back

Positive. Mental. Attitude.

That, an awesome (in every meaning of the word) weekend in Ireland and a few excellent patients later - and I've got my medical love mojo back.

Kaboom :)