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It is the start of a new year. 2013 is history – with its ups and downs, bad and good times, successes and failures.
2012 marked the most difficult year in my life, so 2013 was outstanding in comparison.
I’ve made new year’s resolutions for the last 12 years and they have changed remarkably over time. From self-centered resolutions (floss my teeth 5 times a week, eat a vegetable with dinner, pay off my VISA) to people-centered (date night once a month, cousin reunion this summer). I even went so far as to start categorizing them into financial, green living, health, family, etc.
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The last blog I posted was before I got my bar results. Yesterday, the next bar round of bar results were posted. I decided it was time to get back on the board and click away my thoughts.
I feel incredibly blessed to have passed the bar last spring. I am even more blessed that I got to live the dream of starting my own practice.
Now that I am in it, four months later, the pendulum swings heavily one way – where I wouldn’t dare dream of wanting something different than I have, and swings heavily the other way where I just want someone to tell me what to do.
Even though I don’t have a boss to know what I’m doing right and wrong, I am tougher on myself than any boss would be. I’m a baby lawyer (0-5 years experience). There is no way to learn without making mistakes. It is the practice of law. Practice. I know this. 40-year veteran attorneys tell me this. Yet no good deed goes unpunished. Everything I do for the first time after researching, checking forms and consulting with my mentors has something go wrong.
I have been told by my husband that I like to fill my free time with events. He is right. I impulsively schedule meet-ups and play dates when I have any shred of energy or desire to do so. I enjoy it, but I rarely take time to recharge with my unscheduled time.
I have learned the last 15 months that I have to dial down the intensity of my enthusiasm. January 2012 is when the pain from my back kicked in. For most of my life I have dealt with back pain, but I know it's not just the physical structure of my spine that creates problems; I add my own level of trauma by wanting to go go go.
I didn't dial down the intensity until after graduation. If I had, I would have graduated late. Truth be told, taking the bar exam 2 months after a spinal decompression may not be turning it down either. I felt like I did; I put myself and family before studying but I probably put myself second.
March 20th is the first day of spring. I live in Iowa and its been an abnormally cold and snowy March - it is a conversation topic everyone is talking or lamenting about lately. For me, March 20th feels like yesterday and the day before - another day I am trapped under a raincloud in the middle of a sunny day. It has been 3 weeks since the bar exam ended. And 46 days until the results. I feel like my head is going to explode.
I only blogged once during my study session for the February exam. I had a lot to say, but I didn’t take time to write it down, albeit the one time in January I did blog. There was too much pressure to do well on the exam to make time to do something for pleasure. The bar exam is a high stakes exam. That phrase feels inferior to what it represents - lawyers sacrificing everything they have to get licensed to practice in a lethargic and anorexic legal field. It truly represents the definition of insanity.
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After the cuteness of your child’s independence wears off, “I don’t want to” is a phrase every parent could live without. It’s time to get dressed – “I don’t want to.” It’s time to finish dinner – “I don’t want to.” It’s time for your popsicle – “I don’t want to.” The last one seems odd, but strangely enough, my 3-year old son refuses to enjoy certain things for the pure sake of exercising his free will.
Free will. Freedom. Liberty. In the broad strokes of life, we take it for granted. Yet in day-to-day living we exercise it every time we can. As a parent, I want my child to be independent, speak for himself and make his own decisions. At his age, encouraging his independence takes me to the edge of sanity on a regular basis. But I still try to limit my parental authority (mandate) to circumstances where his safety is of concern, when I sense he impliedly needs boundaries or it is essential for proper development.
Establishing boundaries is unpleasant. Last night, like most nights, bedtime was a struggle of wills.