Too big

by Sofia

Pursuing resistance and alternatives to established systems (economically, socially, sexually) are all very attractive and interesting. I could spend my time reading/studying about how capitalism, industries, big business are destroying our morals and environment, our sensibilities to queer people and other minorities, the chances for other countries to develop properly so most the world’s population doesn’t live in poverty. I could try to understand how genocides are possible and have become a recurring phenomenon of our world. I could do ethnographic research on hipsters in the Mile End to understand how they are trying to jam culture, and how they fail. I could read social theory for the rest of my days and lose myself in ideas, never truly coming back to earth. I could study how people create meaning in their lives, if community has anything to do with it, and come up with ways to cultivate it in our urban, fragmented environment where organic solidarity has failed to develop in the way it was imagined it would.

Yet I can’t help feeling that the most immediate and important thing is to strive to understand how to be healthier as a society. What populations are most unhealthy? Why? What could be done? Is the main concern nutrition? Accidents? Mental health? In any case, the topic is not very risque or exciting. In a way, I wish I were passionate about something edgier or revolutionary, but nothing seems to be pragmatic enough. (Similarly, I catch myself wishing I dressed awesome and had a crazy haircut. But ultimately I find it silly and of too little consequence to put more energy into something like that.) I read that most Canadians die from preventable diseases and I know something is gravely wrong and is not being properly addressed.

How to go about getting into this? Would I be better prepared if I were somehow involved with the hard medical realm, such as working as a nurse? Is a program in Social Studies of Medicine where I should be? What comes after? (Can one work for the WHO from Montreal?) Would that be a good use of my energy? Does it fit with what I want for the other aspects of my life?

It’s difficult to plough through into the world, especially when it’s not the one you grew up thinking about. Today, I’m wondering if I’ll be a comfortable, young professional one day, how I’ll experience my life, how I will practice religion, how I will think about things.

Feeling a little overwhelmed. Today, life is too big and I worry about what I’ll do with it. I’m ready for it to be Friday night, to take the time to come back to the pace of real, unabstracted life.

McGill’s Social Studies of Medicine