By Caleb Tan, edited by Allyson Tai
Sometimes, I wake up in the morning with tears in my eyes. I had been dreaming again, but about what I cannot remember. All I recall was that I was dreaming about something important —something very precious to me. I stumble through the haze in my head, trying desperately to cling on to those lingering fragments. But just as I reach out to grab them, they vanish from the tips of my fingers, like dew in the sublime rays of the rising sun. When I leave the bed, the dream and tears have dried up, and it is time to face reality again.
When I was younger, my father once told me that life is short and that I should do what I truly want to do with the little time that we all have. I did not understand him back then, but now I think I know a little more about what he was trying to say. As the seasons changed, those carefree days that I thought would last for an eternity faded over the years and soon turned into cherished memories, clad in warm nostalgia. By the time I realised this, the years were already slipping through my fingers like innumerable grains of sand. The epiphany shook me from my reverie, and I felt like I had just risen from a long slumber. Those dreams I once had as a child lay buried beneath the sands of time, almost left behind in the past. But this time, I can finally grasp them. Being a doctor is definitely one of my dreams, but lately, when I go to bed after a long day of school, I dream of the myriad of ‘what if’s’ that could have transpired. The infinite possibilities stain my mind and make my heart race. I travel to the farthest corners of the world from the confines of my room.
I dream of finding out what lies within the darkest trenches of the oceans as a marine biologist, discovering ancient ruins long lost to time as an archeologist and more recently, inspiring countless others with my stories as a writer. Of course, I am deeply fascinated by the human body and its endless intricacies, but my heart yearns to do more than that. There are so many things to be done, so many experiences that are yet to be had, but unfortunately, so little time.
The lectures, tutorials and practicals relentlessly pile up each week, a testament to how busy life in medical school is. However, sometimes there is respite in the cacophony, a calm within the storm, like an oasis in the desert. In those times I forget about medicine and pursue my passions, keeping the embers of my dreams alive. Those brief pauses soothe my fatigued mind, giving me the strength and determination to face the academic challenges that lie ahead.
These innocent dreams are the ones that I will hold closest to my heart, fleeting reminders of what it is like to laugh without care, to take risks without consequences, and to live without regrets. Slowly, yet bravely, I will move forward into the uncertain future, my hopes and dreams dimly illuminating the path ahead.