Starting Again

07 Jan 2016

By Ainhoa Costas Chavarri

In the beginning, there is the excitement:

The promise of interesting new people! exotic new places! shiny new things!

Everything is wonderful in this daydream world of possibilities.

But then reality comes along and hands you some practical weights to bring you back down into perspective.

There will be moving involved.

The distances may be literal and large- another city, another country. Or smaller but significant- a different office, remodeling a room for a new addition to the family.

The most important part of the moving, however, the biggest change in starting again is often internal. Because in the shuffling and shifting and reorganizing of things, memories and thoughts get kicked up like dust.

And that’s when the doubt creeps in:

But I’ve grown so fond of this old place! Can I part with these old things I’ve become so accustomed to? What about all my favorite people and friends? Can I leave all that behind? Should I? And what if?

What if I don’t like those new places? What if I don’t like any of those new things? What if I don’t like any of those new people?

What if those new people don’t like me? What if no one likes me?!

The doubt has somehow morphed into fear.

It is such an irrational thing this fear, we can look at it plainly and say, “Here are my accomplishments,” and rattle off an impressive list. But the fear doesn’t listen. It finds the weak spots in our armor and chips away in attempts to send us back to those all-consuming emotions of our awkward teenage years. Back when we were afraid we weren’t popular enough, or smart enough, or athletic enough.

“What is this really about?” you ask, as you look in the mirror, reminding yourself that you are now much stronger and wiser than that past self.

And that’s when you realize that starting again is all about re-evaluating yourself.

That moving from known places of comfort (or discomfort as it may be) to new places, literal or otherwise, can leave one feeling not just exhilarated, but also exposed and vulnerable.

That behind the superficial worries and doubts, deep down there is a real human need to know:

Am I good enough? Can I do this?

Sometimes starting again is our choice, and sometimes life gets in the way of our choices. These necessary transition periods allow us to revisit and acknowledge the old or past (and perhaps give gratitude for it) while at the same time forcing us to reassess our current selves.

Whether it’s going into residency, starting a new practice, becoming a parent, finalizing a divorce, moving to a new location, or any other life-altering events-

Am I good enough? Can I do this?

The answer is yes. Your future awaits you, excited.


Dr. Ainhoa Costas Chavarri is a General Surgeon and Hand Surgeon who does full-time #globalsurgery. She has been living and working in Rwanda for the past two and a half years. She has started again so many times she has lost count. But every single time it has been worth it.

Our blog is a forum for our members to speak, and as such, statements made here represent the opinions of the author, and are not necessarily the opinion of the Association of Women Surgeons.

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