So if you remember I decided to become a doctor at 31 years old, with the blessing of my daughter. I woke up early most of the days to study chemistry and biology, which I hadn’t explored for the last 15 years. I was pretty rusty, but holding on to it.

All medical schools required from their applicant experiences with patients, it could involve hospitals, GP surgeries, clinics, charities… therefore I was on the hunt for the next apprenticeship.

The good thing at my age was I cut through the crap and went directly to the people I know.

“Are you looking for an apprenticeship with me?” asked David, my brother. He is a cardiothoracic surgeon.

Absolutely not! I loved my brother but he would make my life miserable asking me difficult questions because he would want to prove that he only accepted me because I was highly intelligent and not because I was his sister. So no thank you Bro.

“I would prefer a surgery environment or a clinic. I am sure you must know someone, who owns one and could have me as an apprentice for a couple of months. If you think of all the Cambridge alumni in your network.”

If I wanted something from my brother, I always reminded him that he went to Cambridge, and obviously I didn’t.

“OK I’ll ask around.”

Yes, I should get a response very quickly… and a couple of days later:

“I think I got you the perfect apprenticeship!!!” he announced enthusiastically.

“It’s a plastic surgery based in West London and they’re actually looking for an assistant.” He continued.

See, finding an apprenticeship at my age was not difficult because

  • It’s all about the people I know
  • It’s all about the people I know in the right field
  • It’s all about the people I know in the right field, who are decision makers


“That’s great! Whom did you get the tips from?” I asked.

“Do you remember my classmate Lucas? He’s one of the co-founders.”

Lucas??? Oh no! I had a huge crush on him when I was 16.

See finding an apprenticeship at my age was tricky because

  • I tapped into the people I know
  • The likelihood of reaching out to old flames increases dramatically
  • Basically I tapped into old flames


“Lucas?” I innocently asked, pretending I didn’t remember and avoiding eye contact.

But I remembered like it was yesterday. My crush on Lucas consumed me. He was kind, tall, cheeky, beautiful eyes; he was at Cambridge and I was just 16. One week-end, David brought him home. I fell for him straight away. During the whole week-end I was looking for signs that it was reciprocal.

Olivia at 16

When he left, I found out his address and wrote enflamed love letters that only a 16-year old could produce, straight out of Mills & Boons.

After a couple of months and about 16 letters later, he came down to our home for another week end with my brother. I was over the moon, daydreaming of our first kiss. I couldn’t believe it.

And there he was in front of me. I was melting, my heart was racing. I almost fainted when he said:

”Can I talk to you for a second?” He took me to a quiet corner.


“Can you please stop sending me letters?” he took out from his bag all the letters I ever sent.

“It’s disturbing.” He added.

Dude, what’s disturbing about love?

“I haven’t told your brother, but you need to stop. I am just not interested and you think it’s love, but it’s not. You’re just falling for a Cambridge student.”

And there he was in front of me. I was melting, my heart was broken into pieces. I ran away to my room hiding my tears. He made me feel so unspecial. This was the end of the world and I took months to recover. I never told my brother. I only saw him once after that episode, at David’s graduation ceremony. That day I did my best to avoid him, and indeed since then I tended to apply the same rule: ie just avoid Lucas.


“I’m not sure who Lucas is.” I continued, amnesic.

“Are you kidding me? You hit on him when he came home.” He sneered.

During all this time he knew. So Lucas has not been that quiet after all. Certainly bragging about it.

“Who told you? Lucas?”

“No one, it was so obvious, he didn’t need to tell me.”

OK Lucas, my bad!

“So you understand that I would rather not be around him.” I added.

“As a matter of fact, I don’t. it was… what? 20 years ago? Who cares now? You had a crush on him, OK. But since then you moved on, you got married, you’re a mom, you lost of lot of weight.”

It was true, I was overweight as a teenager and this heart-broken business made me lose my appetite.

“it will be an amazing apprenticeship, he loves teaching and he’s an excellent surgeon. Don’t let the 16-year-old Olivia make you miss this opportunity, for which a lot of people would kill.”

Do you think he’s right?

Olivia running away 16 less tone - Copier (1)

The thing is it was difficult to occult the 16 year old self. A lot of my self awareness feelings were born out of traumatic events that happened during these formative years. Here is a list of the main feelings (list not exhaustive):

  • I am not beautiful enough. I know I wasn’t a model, but I wasn’t that bad either. I assure you I knew girls, who looked far worse than me and still manage to get some pretty hot guys. So I was still carrying this feeling with me.
  • I am not blonde. In the same vein of not being beautiful enough, I could have got away with it if only I was blonde. I never ever ever ever understood the attraction for blondes. Petite blondes, fat blondes, dumb blondes, sophisticated blondes, whatever the types of blonde, she would still have more chance than the rest of us… even get promotions before us in the workplace. So I was still carrying this feeling with me.
  • I am boring. Unfortunately for me, I was a very obedient child. I didn’t go out much, instead I was reading a lot… a lot of romances. I was just following the rules and I could see all the guys I had a thing for falling for girls, who would sleep around or go out in the evening, or break the rules, none of which I was doing. So I was still carrying this feeling with me.
  • I am doubly boring because I didn’t drink. This has been an absolute deal breaker for me. I didn’t drink alcohol, therefore I wasn’t getting drunk at parties, therefore I wasn’t making out, therefore I was boring. So I was still carrying this feeling with me.


With all these feelings continuing to float around me, did I really want to get an apprenticeship with Lucas?

David suddenly interrupted my thought process with: “We don’t have all the time in the world. He’s expecting you today at his office to interview you… checking on your motives.”

What? Today? I wasn’t prepared.

“So you decide Olivia, do you want this apprenticeship?”

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