My friend and fellow from my class who was serving in New York City came to spend his last week in the US in Washington DC before flying back to Pakistan. I wanted to show him around the city because he did not spend much time here. I asked him about the one place he really want to visit in DC before leaving, he replied I want to go to the white house one more time.

So, we planned the day of visiting the white house then roam around the city. Before leaving the house, we had a call from some friends who kindly offered taking us to the National Harbor. We thought let us go there then come back to the white house, we went there, then passed by the capital, and the national mall. By then were very hungry we went for Pakistani dinner  and a karaoke night then went back home. We did not realize how much our plans had changed till we got home.

I believe it is the same in many things in our life, we start doing something with certain assumptions, ideas and expectations, yet all this change throughout the way and the only thing matters is the journey and how much we learn from it.

As a person who is working in public health for many years now, I can tell you that public health was never my plan nor my expectations. I always dreamed of becoming a dentist and used to admire every dentist I met in my life and cannot wait to grow up and be one. Fortunately, I managed to fulfill my dream and became a licensed dentist in Sudan. There are no enough words to describe the sense of achievements I felt back then.

However, and in the middle of fulfilling my dreams public health happened to me, I did not plan for it, neither did I pursue it, our paths just crossed. In the beginning, I was a little reluctant to follow that path and driven away from my dentistry dream. Yet, there was this passion inside me that kept on growing rapidly and unconsciously. The satisfaction I feel trying to tackle the root causes of poor health instead of treating the diseases was fascinating. The amazing effect that public health does to people’s health and lives was invaluable. The continuous progress and development I got working in public health and social sector is priceless.

Qaiser and I never made it to the white house, yet we did not regret it for a minute, because we enjoyed the journey the learning and the fun we had in every single moment of that day. In our pursue of happiness we must have a plan and try hard to reach our goals yet we need to learn how to be flexible and adjust our plans throughout the way for our next steps.  My life did not go as I planned for it but I am very thankful for every single step, every drift in my path and all the downs that lifted me up.