If there’s something I’ve noticed since I left the practice of law in April, it’s that people are dying to send me back to the law or are consoling me that I will get there eventually. As well-intentioned as all this may be, what if I don’t want to? What if I never step foot in a court room again? Why do you care?
(As a caveat: I am teaching at the law school next semester, which I am STOKED about).
For the people who love me, I assume they care for a few reasons. The people that don’t really know me or I’m not a part of their life, well it’s probably just a judgemental thing (that’s cool I do it too). For the ones that love me, I gander you care for a few reasons.
1. Throwing Away My Education
This is the, “but you spent all that time in school on your education, and you’re throwing it away.” Let’s back up. I’ve hardly ditched the knowledge I’ve gained the past 28 years of life. Only three of the twenty-eight years I’ve been alive were spent in law school. I mean I hit pre-k, k-12, four years of college, and three years of law school. Law school is a pretty small percentage. You do the math (not my forte).
I still have that knowledge in my brain by the way! I’m still smart! I didn’t become an idiot because I quit my job. Granted, I forgot a lot of stuff the minute I walked out of law school (memory basics), but knowledge and intelligence are different things anyways. I believe I have learned A LOT about A LOT of things in my twenty-eight years, and I continue to learn more every day. My education is not wasted.
My least favorite topic ever. Yes, I have a TON of student loans. It’s depressing if you think about it too long, so I don’t. This does not mean I have forgotten about my student loans and I pretend they aren’t real. I am on a monthly repayment plan: not so sure when I’ll ever pay them off, but one day at a time.
Other news about money: I am about in the same financial situation as I was as an attorney. My job was not economically glamorous. That’s not why I left though. I left because I was unhappy and all the money in the world couldn’t have made me happy. What’s the point in having money if I’m miserable? I don’t know how many people have to say this until everyone gets that money does NOT equal happiness. I am well aware that a lack of money can create unhappiness, but so can a lot of other things.
Going back to the above about me not throwing away my education…well I’m not dumb. This means I know how to take care of myself. I’ll be ok. If I’m not, I’ll ask for help.
3. I was good at it.
I’m not sure how people who never saw me actually practice or argue in a court room would know this, but thank you. I do think I make a pretty good lawyer, especially pertaining to certain aspects.
Here’s the thing, it’s not the only thing I’m good at. I’m good at several things. Some of the skills I possess that make me a good lawyer apply elsewhere in other parts of life, and possible other careers.
For example, I’m a performer. I grew up in the theater and I can put on a show. I know how to fluctuate the tone of my voice and project, so people can hear me (this stuff matters). I can make a case into a story. I’m a good communicator, and I am a fairly good writer. These are some of the things that make me a good lawyer, but that make me good at other things too!
I might even have some talents yet undiscovered. That’s exciting!
I’ve talked about this already as pertaining to myself (previous article). I’m sure it’s a lot more exciting to say that your daughter, sister, girlfriend, granddaughter, niece, friend (whatever I am to you) is a lawyer rather than a waitress or yoga teacher. Maybe this doesn’t bother you. If it does, it’s ok. Shame is normal. I still grapple with it, because of societal expectations.
I don’t know how to fix that for you. I will tell you that my “societal status” or “job” does not define me or you. Neither does yours.
Maybe I’m not a practicing lawyer, but guess what I am? Happy. How many people do you know that are happy? What is happy to you? This is the happiest I’ve felt in a while, and it’s because I’m doing whatever the hell I want to do. It’s not what you, someone else, society, or anybody else wants me to do.
In summary, thank you for your concern, your suggestions, and for caring. I’m lucky so many people care about me, truly. Here’s the thing though…I’m good! Really! I have more time to spend figuring out who I am and what I want. My brain gets the break it needs after so much stress and sadness of the loss of my sister. I have time for the things I love like yoga, my dogs, family and friends, and reading and writing.
I’m not sure what my long-term plan is. Heck, maybe I’ll be back in the court room in a couple of years. I don’t feel that way now, but things change. I’m aware.
So for those who care and love me, know that I am happy and that’s the best you could ever hope for. I wish the same for you. I love you all very much.