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Friday, January 6, 2012

In the end

Lately, I am very resistant to going to bed. I am not resistant to sleep: I love taking naps during the day. But even if I am tired, I don't want to go to bed at night, because that means my day is over, and tomorrow will come by the time I am next cognizant. I just want to grab on to time and hold it back for a bit. Hold it until I am ready for it to advance again, and I'm not sure how long that would take. It could be quite a while. Maybe it's that I'm finally starting to feel "old", or maybe it's that I feel like there is just too much in front of me to handle, and I don't want to get to it yet, or at least not all at once. It's kind of paralyzing, when you see how many obligations lay ahead of you. Ironically, all I really want to do is sleep right now. Sleep until winter is over, like a nice hibernating bear, those lucky bastards. (See how much of a break they get from life every year.) But sleeping means time advancing, and I don't like that right now.

So yeah, these are my last few days until my very last semester of law school begins. What's that you say? You can't believe I'm here already? Feels like just yesterday this journey began? Yeah, that's what pretty much everyone who hasn't had to live with me or otherwise suffer with me through the past 2.5 years seems to be saying. Time is relative, my friends. Of all the notable 3-year blocks of my life -- junior high, high school, most of college, my first full time job -- this has been by far the longest and the most self-transformative. I feel like a completely different person from where I once was, and it has taken a long, long time to become like this.

What lies ahead for me? In short term, a Capstone paper; a few classes; some writing assignments; a single remaining final exam; a clinic; graduation; the bar exam. Then? I don't know. Everyone asks what's next, and all I ever say is I want to get hired by anyone who will hire me, pretty much. But then the advice begins. You could practice such and such law. And sometimes they are right, sometimes I could practice in that area. But usually they just bring up some area in which I have neither experience nor interest, and they've never gone to law school anyway, so they don't really understand why it's not feasible for me to do whatever they think is a brilliant idea for me to do. I just want people to not ask me what I'm going to do next, because I don't know, and no, you can't help me figure it out, most likely. But I will find something, at some point, and when I do, I'll let you know.

As my friend heidikins recently wrote: It all works out in the end. If it hasn't worked out, it isn't the end.

I think that's going to be my new mantra.

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Nic said...

I don't think people realize they are annoying you with the advice or questions.  I think that most people, like myself for example, are excited for you and a little bit awed in a sense.  You are becoming something that has a certain... inspiring character to it.  What do people aspire to be when they grow up?  A doctor, a lawyer, an athelete, an actor...  These kinds of things are mere aspirations to most people, but reality to a certain few.  You are one of those few who will actually "make it" in terms of becoming something that is traditionally considered to be on the highest level of professionalism.  It's only natural for others to be curious.

I'm not explaining this very well.

People want to know "what next" because they are living a little bit vicariously through you.  With your success, they become friends of someone successful and important.  They don't mean to irritate, they're just excited to see you progress. For most people, "what next" means going back to work in the same old job doing the same old thing day after day, eating donuts and drinking coffee and collecting meager wages until they die.  For you, the sky is the limit.  We want to watch you succeed because it helps us to feel a little better about ourselves.

OK, that's not really explaining it any better.  I'm going to stop trying and just finish my thought.

Now, I know that from your point of view, you are (probably) just exhausted and fried and want to get it over with.  You don't CARE what comes next... you can't even think about it right now.  "Next" is a long time from now, and "now" is the only thing that is important.  You are right, of course, but as you said, time is relative.  To me, you only just left Utah a little while ago to begin your journey of discovery and pain in the field of law.  All of these months and years have blurred together and it's hard for me to grasp the fact that you are almost done already.  Surely it hasn't been that long?  I know intellectually that's it's been like three years, but it doesn't feel like that.  When you say, "just one more semester" my mind says, "already?  That was really quick."

I hope you don't get mad.  I know you were just venting a little, and rightfully so.  I'm just playing the advocate a little.  <----- (That's the extent of my law terminology.)  I hope that you breeze though this last semester, get all of the rest of the crap (bar, license, etc.) out of the way, and take a nice long relaxing vacation to somewhere that has something (beach, palm trees, cruise ships, whatever...) and let the stress melt away.  Only then can you think about what comes next.

I also envy bears, by the way.  Who wouldn't want to sleep for three months?

I can't speak for everyone, but I promise to TRY and not ask you about plans until you're ready to think about them.  You're in the home stretch now, so focus on that and ignore us if you can.  Just a few more steps.


Sra said...

I know people mean well. The thing is, it gives me an enormous amount of anxiety. Or, I already have an enormous amount of anxiety, and questions about my future only feed it. Because I just don't know what I'm going to do. I don't know when or if or who will hire me, and I don't know if I'm going to like it or hate it, and I don't know if I'm going to be good at it or bad at it. And people can say, you're going to do great, who wouldn't want to hire you. But you get used to being humbled in law school. You aren't all that. There are people better than you. Everything is not necessarily going to come up all roses. Maybe I wouldn't feel as stressed if I didn't have $100K of looming debt, but I need to know that there's a way I can at least make payments on that. Cain't discharge no student loans with bankruptcy (although I would be more than willing, let me tell you.)

I also get that law seems like an exciting profession to many. There are a bunch of law-related TV shows for a reason. And it is interesting and sometimes exciting, but it is also hard, and frightening, and let's just say there's also a reason that a lot of lawyers have depression and substance abuse problems.

I'm just worried that things won't work out. 5-10 years ago, I never thought it might not, but in these days and this shit economy that doesn't seem to be even close to getting any better, I do worry, and there are plenty of people for whom it just does not work out, new mantra aside. I understand the desire other people feel to help, but the bottom line is they don't know any better than I what will happen. And I just kind of feel like I need to deal with the unknown alone, because I'm the only one who can settle it at the end of the day.

tennessee mike said...

There's a stand-up comedian named Greg Fitzsimmons who has a funny bit about "what's next":

"I'm in a relationship with a woman, and married couples always ask us, 'When are ya gonna get married?  When are ya gonna get married?'  I answer them, 'I don't know...when are you going to die?  Because that would be the next step, right?  Now that you're married, death would be next.  When are you going to die?' "

Sra said...

I believe I have seen that routine. Good one! I know people are just trying to make conversation, but there are a lot of those types of questions that can get really annoying. And that particular question is so personal that I think it's inappropriate for people just trying to make conversation to ask.

heidikins said...

Hang in there, my dear. 1 more semester and then you can breathe a little! And that mantra, especially when repeated often (VERY often) has saved my bacon the last few months!


Nic said...

"Because I just don't know what I'm going to do. I don't know when or if or who will hire me, and I don't know if I'm going to like it or hate it, and I don't know if I'm going to be good at it or bad at it. And people can say, you're going to do great, who wouldn't want to hire you...  You aren't all that. There are people better than you. Everything is not necessarily going to come up all roses."You could say that about anything in life.  That's the exciting thing about living.

Sra said...

I guess I'm just not the type of person who likes a lot of insecurity and unknown floating around in life. It makes me feel very uncomfortable. I don't know that I consider it exciting. I like having new challenges, but I want to have them in an environment that I think is going to be pretty static.

Manuela said...

When people ask me that I say: Wait tables.  And they shut up.  I think you and I are bit more cynical because we know, having already been out there in the big working world, that yeah, it kind of sucks trying to find who will hire you.  It would be way more exciting without the debt looming and the shit economy....that being said, let's remain optimistic ;-)

B.R. said...

Du bist fast fertig. Mann, so ist das Leben, eben.... Zeit ist leider die einzige Sache, die man nicht wieder 'machen' kann. Man kann immer mehr Geld machen, mehr Menschen kennenlernen, mehr lernen, mehr erleben, usw. Aber Zeit, tja....A topic to which I also relate all too well.

Dena said...

I like that mantra. 

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