Much to the dismay of one of my more
judgemental outdoor purist friends, I have joined a gym. I have also started running at a measurable frequency. Both of these activities utilize time I could be spending doing all kinds of paid and unpaid, meaningful and utterly devoid of meaning, stimulating and soul-destroying work. Meanwhile, my own health is on a definite downward trajectory, as I turn to high-calorie, dopamine-inducing foods for the energy I need to make it through the day, while my clothes burst at the seams (sometimes literally), my heart probably struggling to pump blood to my increasingly fried brain.
Going out for a run feels like a big f-you to anyone (read: everyone) who expects trainees in the biomedical sciences to sacrifice their own health in the name of an enterprise that shows them, by and large, no love. Every step forward, slow and clumsy as it may be, is in its essence giving the middle finger to the culture of overwork in my field, the culture of letting career aspirations override physical and mental well-being, and it’s deliciously gratifying.