considering another fellowship at 42

Hello all,

First I would like to say how glad I am to have come across this site. I stumbled upon it when I was looking for web info on age of residency/fellowship trainees, etc…

I quickly realized, after reading some of these posts what a whiner I am, given what many members here have gone through in achieving their goals of becoming an MD at a much later age.

So a bit about myself. I’m currently 42, married with 2 boys (3 years and 8 months) and 2 big dogs (also boys, 10 and 7 years). I was by no means “late” in entering medical school at age 23-24. My biggest “problem” (if it is that), has been finding the right “fit” so that I can develop my career. I am now board-certified in internal medicine and pulmonary disease, and have practiced both in a community and academic setting.

When I finished residency, it was a real toss-up between pulmonary and ID. In retrospect, pulmonary won out I think because of the mentors and encouragement I had at the time, and even in the lead-up period to internal medicine residency (mentors in that period were pulmonologists as well), and it was enough to get me through fellowship.

Since finishing and working in the field, however, I’ve found more and more my interests have veered towards ID (and I currently work in public health communicable disease control). I haven’t really been able to put the “I wonder what it would have been like to be an ID physician” out of my mind since finishing residency 9 years ago, and all the ID physicians I’ve spoken to think I should train further if I’m interested in the field.

So all that to say I’ve put up this post for any feedback anyone might have about going back to becoming a fellow in one’s early 40s. Again, compared to what I’ve see here, most of you would be quite right to say “suck it up and go for it, quit whining about going back to being a trainee”, etc…My wife is behind me on this, I have no other barriers with the exception of getting into a program, but have had a lot of encouragement from program directors to apply, etc…

I guess I’m posting this because I’m really wondering what it is as a “common denominator” for all of us that makes us consider further “pain and suffering”, “delayed gratification”, whether it be in pursuit of the MD, extra fellowship, etc…

Is it normal, or a marker of an inability to be satisfied with what one has in life? I guess most of us would term the latter “complacency” and would not look upon it favorably.

Feedback welcome.

(NOTE: I am moving this to residency forum but preserving post here. Comments from all are invited)