I sat at lunch yesterday with my head of unit. He was asking me about my plans for next year, when I become a consultant geriatrician. He asked whether I still wanted to do a PhD, and whether I wanted to head into academia. I said that I would like to act in a health advisory role to the government. Now, I knew that this was something that he had done before, this guy has been around forever, seen everything, done lots including sit on government health advisory committees.
He pulled a face. I said to him “You pulled a face, why?”.
He said “awww, I sat on committees. Hundreds of ’em. Lots of meetings. Don’t think I achieved much.”
This fellow is straight down the line, down to earth and humble. He straightened up, looked me in the eye and said:
“Follow your dreams. But look after yourself and your own.”
That is just fecking fantastic, isn’t it? That is some of the best advice I have ever been given.
Here is this distinguished professional, an honourable fossil, gruff but kind, telling me to follow my dreams. And the comment afterward about looking after yourself speaks of many years of sacrifice that he has made; long hours, away from his family. Though he has 5 kids and I heard he raised them pretty much himself. He did good. He is my hero.
It is sometimes the little things that people say that resonate in a big way.
My PhD studies are full steam ahead for next year, after a positive meeting with the Prof.
Plus, it will be a good time to have a baby. Have been awfully clucky lately.
Addit 2140: Have just booked tickets to Hong Kong and Japan! Yay!