Chasing Dreams is a multi-part series chronicling my thoughts, dreams & changing ideals over the years (since 2018), including burnout, quitting the rat race, migration and trying to find my path in life
I’ve had a dream since I was 11, an idyllic future in which I was a doctor working in the UK, living with my family and a pet dog in a nice suburban house. 10 years on, and nothing much has changed. The same dream still burns in my heart, and I’m well on track to reaching that dream, except that I’m a cat-obsessed & very much single twenty-something. In this post, I’ll be sharing how I worked towards my childhood dream and have almost turned it into a reality. Just read on, I promise it isn’t as far-fetched or impossible as it sounds.
I’ve always been a ‘big picture’ kind of person, and my head is often in the clouds, because the present/the here and now just isn’t as exciting as imagining future possibilities. I’m an INFJ (here’s a quick summary of my MBTI type), and the iNtuitive side of me enjoys creating ridiculously detailed and fantasical long-term plans, so much so that I’ve scared a few
guys people off with my visions for the future. I would go more into detail about MBTI, but maybe I’ll write a separate post on that someday since it’ll bore most of you. So…I’ll just jump right in and share how I’ve been working towards my dreams over this past decade.
My strong desire to migrate has been the biggest driving factor in my life. I chose to commit to a 5-year university course just to increase my chances of migrating successfully. I chose not to study abroad to save my parents’ money, because I want them to be able to migrate with me (I’m an only child), and that’s not going to be cheap.
I’ll be the first to confess that I chose to study Medicine for pragmatic and less-than-altruistic reasons. If I had been completely free of societal & peer pressure (most of my old friends went to med school with me), I would have chosen to do counselling or social work instead of medicine, but I wanted a job with higher pay and more hireable qualifications. Oh gosh I hate how pragmatic and cold that sounds, but Singapore’s economy isn’t kind to those without Master’s or PhD’s, which is yet another reason that’s compelling me to migrate.
I’m not entirely sure if being a doctor is my life calling, but I definitely find the job meaningful and enjoy the patient interaction enough to make this my lifelong career (or at least until my true calling reveals itself). And to be honest, I didn’t know what other courses to apply to when I was planning my uni applications; I hadn’t explored any other career outside medicine and I had never tried my hand at other careers, which is a regret that I hold.
And I feel the need to clarify that my family did not influence/pressure me to choose Medicine; I chose this path independently because I knew that a medical degree would be my passport to the world. Almost every country in the world needs doctors, so it would be killing two (more like ten) birds with one stone – a financially secure/stable job, and I would be able to fulfil my dream of migration.
I’ve spent a lot of time researching the different countries I could relocate to, as well as their availability of medical training opportunities, and I’ve narrowed my list down to UK, Ireland and USA. I’ll be headed to the UK next year to intern at a hospital for a few weeks, and find out if their healthcare system and style of practising suits me, as well as soak up Brit culture (and its general soggy weather). If I fall in love with the country o
r somehow manage to find love there, I’ll forget about the other countries and just relocate to the UK instead. If the UK doesn’t feel like a good fit for me, I’ll visit the US the following year during my medical elective period and see if I like it better. Yes, the pasture is greener outside Singapore, and yes, I am biased towards Western countries.
As for the rest of my dream future, I’m not sure if I’ll find someone to settle down/start my own family with, but I know that my parents will always have my back and support me through these uncertain times; I’m the most blessed girl in the world to have these amazing, loving and fun humans as my parents. So even if I do end up single for life with no children, I’ll always still have family (and maybe a pet cat) around me, and that is a blessing in itself.
My dreams occasionally scare me, but as the cliched phrase goes, if your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough. I sometimes worry about how I’m going to make all of those dreams happen in my lifetime, especially with my hectic life as a medical student and having to worry about my career/finances after I graduate.
I could easily just forget about these dreams over the years or end up in a bad situation where I’m no longer capable of fulfilling them; and it fills me with so much fear, because I hold these dreams so close to my heart.
For the non-religious, please scroll past the next paragraph if you don’t want to read a bible verse. Matthew 6:25-34 is a lovely and reassuring paragraph that has helped me hold onto my dream for the past 10 years, even during times when I was so sure that my dreams were never going to come to fruition. I’ve copied my favourite parts below, but you can read the full thing here.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
To be honest, I never expected myself to follow through with my childhood dream with such tenacity, but I’m thankful that God arranged the circumstances perfectly to help me reach that lofty and…oddly specific life goal.
I’m not sure about the specifics of how it will happen or which country I’ll eventually end up with, or if I’ll be chasing this dream alone or with someone by my side, but it doesn’t matter.
I’m halfway there and there will be a lot of uncertainty, self-doubt and fear along the way, but now my dream future is so much closer than it was 10 years ago, so all I have to do is keep holding on and continue chasing my dreams.
There will probably be more instalments in this series, but I’m flying off this week and won’t have much time to blog, so if you want to stay up to date with my latest posts, be sure to follow my Insta or Facebook page! 🙂
P.S. I don’t make any money from running this blog, so if you’d like to support my writing and help me bring even better content to you, you can buy me a coffee/donate on Ko-fi!
If you’re interested in exploring my blog, click here for an index of all the posts I’ve ever written (travel, musings, doctoring), or check out my most read series below:
- the Chasing Dreams series: a multi-part series chronicling my thoughts, dreams & changing ideals over the years (since 2018), including burnout, quitting the rat race, migration and trying to find my path in life
- the (not-so-definitive) guide to doctoring: Getting into Med School & FAQs | Surviving your Clinical Years | MBBS Tips | Life as a M1 // M2 // M3 // M4 // M5 during COVID // Life as a Doctor (monthly series) | Chasing Careers series