Goodbye Law

This plaque was a law school graduation gift. (It's a long story...)

This plaque was a law school graduation gift. (It's a long story...)

Change is inevitable I guess. At least that's what I'm learning as the years tick past -- each one more quickly than the last. We grow up, the kids move on, our parents pass away, and we sometimes face health challenges. Travel gets harder and the family grows farther and farther apart. It's just life. It's the way it goes.

The thing that's surprising is how quickly, and sometimes unexpectedly, change happens. One minute you're knee-deep in your career then suddenly and without warning you're unemployed and changing jobs. Or you're sitting at a traffic light waiting to make a left-hand turn and then bam, you're waking up in a hospital. Change also happens surreptitiously. One minute you're up to your elbows in baby diapers and the next minute the kid is in college and you find yourself asking, "where did the time go?"

One thing is certain: changes will come.

It's been more than twenty-five years since I had the bright idea to go to law school. "It's just three years," I told myself. Yea, three on top of the four it had already taken to get a bachelor's degree. But then, who's counting.

All in all, it wasn't a bad idea. The law has been very good to me as a career, allowing me to take my childhood impertinence and turn it into something useful. For well over two decades I've been an advocate for justice -- government agencies, corporations, and individuals alike have all engaged me to represent them at one time or another. I've spent hours upon hours in conference rooms and courtrooms, arguing with opposing counsel and sometimes with my own clients. Most of it has been exciting and challenging and interesting and fun. But it has also been stressful. Very stressful. There are few professions like the legal profession, where a person is required to argue on an almost-daily basis. The hours are crushing and anxiety is a staple of each new day. Few other careers boast such a downside. Yet, despite its incongruities. it remains a venerable profession, beloved by the great majority of its members. Including me.

But now it's time to say goodbye -- earlier than I once anticipated, but sometimes life switches things up on you. Whether it's a company downsizing or a divorce or a cancer diagnosis, life can compel you to look closely at your life and make changes you would not have otherwise made, or indeed, considered. And though I am as resistant to change as the next person, I find that reaching the acceptance phase makes change much easier. 

There's a little saying that goes something like this: "I am a reed, I will bend with the wind."  When resistance is futile, just going with the flow helps. Listening to yourself, paying attention, watching doors open in another direction -- these are all ways of understanding your own "flow." They've certainly brought understanding to mine. That flow will take you to places more bright and beautiful and fulfilling than you ever imagined, if you'll just let it.

Thank you, law, for teaching me how to analyze and prioritize, how to speak out for others, and for giving me a lifetime's worth of self-confidence. Thank you for being consistent and ever-inspiring, and for creating the societal lines inside which we all must draw. But most importantly, thank you for changing and evolving and conforming to the reality that is all of our lives in our homes and our communities. Especially for that. Thank you for changing.

Change is good. For all of us.

Posted on May 1, 2016 .