It’s all over.

It can’t be repeated or done again.

Fri 2 November was the final day of my daughter’s Medical School and 2 weeks later she starts her role in a leading New Zealand hospital as a House Surgeon.

I’ll have to start calling her Doctor Daughter but I’ll be sure to keep ignoring her comments about healthy living though :p

Most people realise she’s accomplished something herculean in becoming a doctor but what most people DON’T realise is that she had so much stacked against her.

She went through high school WITHOUT doing science or anything related to medicine. She thought she could never do what she had dreamed of while she was younger – helping the sick and healing them – because studying medicine is so expensive, so instead she settled for language and arts papers in her studies.

After finishing high school at 16 (she gets the brains from me :p) she decided to earn some money working at Starbucks and while making a triple-shot-hold-the-foam-decaff-vanilla-swirl-macchiato she suddenly had an espresso epiphany that she couldn’t settle for second best (and she wasn’t thinking she should have been making a flat white either). She realised that she couldn’t go through the rest of her life wondering “what if” so right there in front of the espresso machine she made a decision to pursue her dreams in medicine to change lives … no matter what it cost.

I guess that all sounds really wonderful, and new age – we all get a warm glow inside thinking about someone pursuing their dreams [cue my song “I Believe In You”] imagining that with a flick of her California blonde hair and a flash of her gorgeous reality TV smile she would instantaneously be fast-tracked to success in a career in medicine with everybody cheering her on  … but I’d be lying.

Her one decision has caused her more expense, more late nights, long lonely hours wrestling with unpronounceable medical terms, unmentionable fluids and blood and guts splashing on her shoes [literally], doubts and exams and assessments that have railed against her tired mind, weekends devoid of a social life replaced with study notes and text books perilously piled throughout her flat while living off the smell of an oily rag … just for the chance to TRY to become a Doctor – a chance to turn her crazy desire of being able to help people into a professional platform of healing.

It’s now over 6 years later and she has the fruit of her hard work and commitment – her 20% of inspiration when mixed with her 80% perspiration has been a volatile cocktail of change.

As her Dad I am so proud of her, and so amazed at what she’s achieved.

I’m also humbled by what a 24 year old woman has taught me.

She’s demonstrated how to ask yourself tough questions about what you really dream of doing – and to not stop there – but to take personal responsibility and mix commitment and discipline and uncomfortable costly choices with plain hard work to achieve your dreams.

I owe her more than words can really say – thank you Esther for living a life that is louder than doubt and spurs us on beyond our couches and creature comforts – just so we can help and heal the lives of other people.

I’ll try and live up to the example you’ve inspired me with.

Love Dad