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Celebrating 10 years of not being a lawyer

It started the other day with NBC doing a 10th anniversary tribute to journalist David Bloom who died while in Iraq in 2003. It was mostly a story about deep vein thrombosis and the education that has been done over the last 10 years about the condition. Mostly, I just sat and thought to myself, "wow, it's been a decade?"

Then, Cole and Leda were playing with a commemorative baseball that was given away as a souvenir during the first ever game at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati...March 31, 2003. An Opening Day I attended. The baseball sat on my shelf collecting dust until the kids were born and now it's become a sort of symbol of our parenting philosophy...that things are only useful if they're being enjoyed. Better on their toy shelf being loved. As the ball rolled over to me the other afternoon, I picked it up, noted the date, and thought back to my skipping classes to go to it.

I was living in Columbus, in my second semester of law school, and miserable. Of course, I didn't actually know I was miserable at the time. But by the end of spring I'd stopped going to classes and pretty much decided that I'd wasted $18,000 well on my way to an equally bleak future of being a practicing attorney.

No offense to my lawyer-friends. The world needs you. And I was actually decent at the law thing--well, Criminal Law at least. I'm not so sure I ever quite wrapped my mind around Contracts. But being able to do something does not mean that one squeezes enjoyment out of it. I usually can solve a crossword puzzle if I sit down and concentrate, but notice I'm not an enthusiastic crossword hobbyist. Being blessed with talent doesn't necessarily mean we enjoy using said talent. Not to mention that sometimes life is about pushing ourselves to new achievements for which we have no talent or logical reason to even try. Law school was logical.

Parenting, endurance sports, me writing a blog with almost 13,000 readers...not really logical. But, interestingly, things that have come to give me some of the greatest happiness in life. I never grew up wanting to be a Stay At Home Dad, a marathoner, a blogger...but I've taken to them--I think--precisely because they were unexpected journeys without a pre-ordained outcome. They all involve a certain amount of daily grind coupled with stumbling around via trial-and-error, hoping, and a payoff that may not be for everybody.

When I look back at the 10th anniversary--somebody owes me a diamond--of failing miserably at law school, I think of all the things I would have missed out on if I hadn't taken that fork in the road. So here's to failing! It's a lesson I hope you, Cole and Leda, pick up one day. Follow your own path in life and do what makes you happy.

But, I want you both to know, this time I've been spending with you these last (is it really nearly?) 3 years as a parent is probably the most excited I've been in life. Seeing you come into the world. The way that raising you has made me want to follow my own advice and tackle new accomplishments. The way that having you has made me think more deeply about what it takes to be a well-rounded person. My attempting to stay healthy--the better eating, the workouts, heck even the learning to swim recently--to watch you grow into your future.

So a big "thank you" to my law school professors for making me hate every minute of sitting in your ridiculously boring and horrible classes. Talk about unintended consequences! If only I could go back and tell my former self that it would be worth it one day. Not because I'd end up at a prestigious firm raking in boatloads of cash while freeing the innocent and convicting the guilty. I think if you told 23 year old me some of my favorite things about a future week in my 30's I'd have not only looked at you funny but probably would have actively tried to avoid them.

Eat your vegetables. They're good for you.


  1. I really appreciated this honest post. it sounds like you are in a great situation and very happy. did you go to OSU? at least you gained an appreciation for Big 10 Football?!

    on a related note: husband is graduating next mth from law school and i am really waiting for the "boatloads" of cash to come rolling in :)

    1. I'm originally from Columbus, Nicole, so grew up on Big 10 football. My grandfather had Buckeye season tickets. But no, I was at a smaller school called Capital. I'd gotten in several places including Hofstra in NY and Depaul here in Chicago, but had chosen to go back home to focus on studying and not be tempted by other things. Ha! Ironically, one of my college friends who started law school the same time as me is now a partner in a major law firm where she gets wacky, stressful cases.


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