Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done

Great things come to those who wait.

Great things come to those who work their asses off and never give up.

I saw this quote today and immediately thought of my sweet husband. He’s on the road to Medical School. He’s in his first year, Health Science. Truth be told he doesn’t know if this is one of six years of Medical School or one of eight. He could have to take the long way there and complete his degree (three years) then apply for Medical School (five more years).


Absolutely. He’s studying every moment of the day it seems. He’s working so hard. He’s not waiting. He’s going for it.

Ironically, I feel like this is the hardest thing I have ever done. I’m not memorizing physics equations. I’m not sitting through hours of chemistry or biology. I’m not stressing at three hour exams. I’m taking care of Max, our two and a half year old and trying to work part time to provide enough income for us.

It’s a different kind of work. But does it count? It looks easy. In fact I find myself bored a lot of the week. Is this what work looks like? I look around (first mistake yet I still do it) and see other people’s hard and their dream looks realistic and their hard work looks glamorous.

Tonight as I made dinner, which sounds more than it was, I slapped hamburgers together, I found myself exhausted. Under my breath I caught myself saying “this is the hardest thing I have ever done.”

I am more than a Medical School wife, but that is one of my major roles in life now. I hate and accept the title simultaneously. I never wanted to be “someone’s wife.” Reality is right now I am a wife of a (pre) medical student. It’s tough. It’s lonely. It’s single parenting most days. Yet at the end I don’t get an A. I don’t get a degree. I’m not Dr. Ackland. It’s the most incredible thing I have ever done with no end goal specific to me.

I can’t study. I can’t take the tests. I can’t do many tangible things toward the goal. I can keep the house going. I can make meals. I can try to do it all with a positive attitude. It’s a foreign role to me. Every time I wanted something I took control. My actions affected my life. Now someone else’s actions affect my life. Very. Very. Directly. Very. Very. Different.

Let me be very clear I absolutely undeniably believe my husband will succeed and desperately want this for him. This is just my part of our story.

I’m in so many foreign roles. New country after being married six months. New baby after one year. New city. New cultural idiosyncrasies. No same holiday celebration. Now a foreign role: someone’s wife with little control over the end goal. I don’t feel cut out for these roles. At my best moment I feel inspired that I can maybe do this. At my worst moments my worst self appears and I’m bitter, angry and resentful. Those emotions all mask fear. When we started this journey I definitely didn’t expect this to be me. I pictured this put together, strong, independent woman that loved life was full of joy always happy for her family and ever supportive of her husband who would feel loved and cherished and had the strength to keep following his dream.

I guess in the end my picture was “picture perfect,” the ultimate TV show wife and life. In reality it’s messy, draining, hard and scary as hell.

I’m not sure how to navigate this season, but this place will be my journey, my learnings, my funny stories, my foibles. Life isn’t perfect and everything in life changes you. I might not have a degree but in life you always gain insight, compassion and strength through hard situations. I will learn to live imperfect. I will learn to live in situations where I feel disappointed and devastated. I will learn joy no matter what life offers.

Even if you aren’t a Medical School wife my prayer is through my honest and raw portrayal of my life you will find connection, hope, and inspiration to face life when it didn’t turn out the way you thought it would.


6 thoughts on “Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done

  1. jacki goedert

    Dana, must share what someone told me when I was in grad school to become a therapist. It was a three year program, but with internship (3000 hrs, licensure, etc. took nearly 10 years). Didn’t have a wife, I was the wife! Not nearly as grueling as med school, but I was overwhelmed. A friend said, “Well, three years will go by whether you do this or not…!” And you know, she was right! So, six, maybe eight years will go by whether you do this or not…and you will all be transformed by the process, especially as you write and share your experience. Sounds corny, but if God brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it! We’re all pulling for you…!

  2. Courtney Smith

    This is the best. I love you.
    You are “keep on keeping on” role model in my life- the one who always, always, always figures it out and presses on no matter what comes. Your the best.

  3. Sara Jean

    I love that you are writing, you have always inspired me and been such a helping hand. Even if it is from so far away! I can’t wait to read all that you post!!


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