Welcome back to the Life After Law blog. Although I’m writing my sole 2015 post on December 31, (see rationalization/explanation below), I’m not one for year-end reviews, in general. As a Jew, I did most of my retrospection and introspection a few months ago at Yom Kippur, and I don’t like to micromanage that sort of thing. A few things have happened recently, however, that compelled me to come back to this blog.
First, you reminded me how rewarding it is to write about post-law careers. Some of you have been kind enough to tell me how my book or my articles or my personal noodging have helped you leave behind a career that didn’t fit any more. This means the world to me, and makes me feel like I might be doing something useful on the planet. That desire to make a difference, you may remember, motivates a lot of people to go to law school in the first place. Not making a discernible difference after we get those JDs can be a serious downer. Feeling like I can actually help others is humbling and thrilling and life-affirming. So, thank you.
One of the most rewarding parts of my life is hearing from you, and how often do you hear from me? Not enough, I think. Even when I take monstrous hiatuses from blogging, I’m thinking about unhappy lawyers and how I can help them. When I hear about former lawyers who have gone off and become puzzle masters or started hot sauce companies, it warms my heart. I want to hear about more of these people. I want you to be one of these people, if you’re not already. The world needs more hot sauce and crossword puzzles. Motions for summary judgment, not so much.
Another spur to blogging again is that my father passed away earlier this year. When I took my break from this blog in October 2014, he had just had the severe stroke that would result in a series of transfers from hospitals to varying levels of rehab to assisted living and back. It was a privilege to help take care of him during that time, followed by his time in hospice. That said, I had little time for anything other than teaching, parenting, daughtering, and listening to books on CD as I drove from thing to thing. Life hasn’t gone back to normal, exactly, but I have a bit more control over my own schedule now.
My father’s death underscored the importance of doing what matters in the limited time we have, as losing loved ones tends to do. What I hate to think about now is how little I got done of any value while I was an associate. So much time wasted in offices, on planes, in conference rooms, trying to please unpleasable partners, holding myself to implausibly high standards. I did enjoy a lot of it, but I enjoy playing Candy Crush too, and I wouldn’t want to spend my life doing that either.
The fact that my college reunion is coming up may also be reminding me of what’s important in my life, including helping unhappy lawyers find work they love. So is the fact that someone recently pointed out to me that the dictionary definition of “middle aged” is from 45-60, and I am in there.
Are you with me in taking a long, hard look (or even a quick peek) at what matters in your life? When you look back at your life ten years from now, what do you suspect you will think? There is no perfect time to start making changes. Now’s good. Really good. I’m with you.