As I write this, I sit on the eve of turning twenty-nine years old. I want to skip any grammatical or formatting formalities and just talk to you, my reader to tell you what’s on my mind. One year left and I will be thirty. Thirty years old! It leaves me wandering where did it all go? I remember my brother sitting me down when I had turned twenty, looking me dead in the eyes, and in classic Joe fashion uttering the words that still, to this day, stick with me:
“Enjoy it while it lasts buddy because after twenty-one, it goes by in a flash.”
In the twinkling of an eye. Nine years later and here I am, remembering those words.
My brother could not have been more right. Despite my best efforts to slow it down, take it one day at a time, and enjoy life from one delicate second to the next, I cannot help but think – It really does goes by so fast. And I think, I believe part of the reason for that as a professional, as a young lawyer, is that I live in an constant state of flux, jumping from one moment to the next; always thinking and planning for the next step.
I say this generally hoping my fellow young professionals will relate. First it was the eager anticipation to finish our undergraduate degree so we could finally get a real job. Then it was the realization that an undergraduate degree wouldn’t be enough and this “real” job was not what we spent our lives working for. This of course was do in large part to graduating from college as the economy collapsed.
I remember sitting with my best friend Phil at Hooters in Carolwood the summer after we had graduated. He looked at me. I looked at him. We both shook our heads and took a sip of our bourbon and coke. Like the tragic ending scene to a movie before the credits roll. I can hear the music now.
“You know Phil, this wasn’t how it was supposed to happen.”
“I know brother,” he tells me in his deep Tampa drawl, “this isn’t what we planned. All that time in school, studying, waiting for this moment. And here we are, and it’s not the moment we waited for. This isn’t the end we dreamed of.”
“No Phil. It’s the beginning we never saw coming.”
Five years later and Phil is an Officer in the United States Army and I am a young lawyer. But these past five years went by as fast as they did because it was filled with a constant desire to finish. Finish reading this case. Finish writing this brief. Finish the first year of law school to start the second. Finish exams. Finish law school. Finish studying for the bar. Pass the bar. Finish swearing in. Wake up. I’m a young lawyer and left wandering – what’s the next step and how do I get there?
When do I cease being a “young lawyer?”
It’s a question I wanted to answer earlier this week as I took my five o’clock stroll to the gym. Perhaps it’s the day when I don’t interrupt a Federal Judge during a multi-district litigation case management conference because I didn’t know I had to wait until the end to speak. Possibly it’s the day when I can draft answers to interrogatories without having to “cheat” by looking at opposing counsel’s responses in a similar case. Or maybe, just maybe it’s the day I finally learn how to spell disburse (not disperse) and that discovery is due 45 days when served with the complaint and 30 otherwise. Wait is it 30? I better Google that.
But today I’m realizing I don’t want to answer that question. I don’t want to know when I cease being a young lawyer. I just want to enjoy it while it lasts, as it is, now because…
it really does go by so fast.
To God, my beautiful family and amazing friend, thank you for twenty-nine incredible years and a lifetime of unforgettable memories.
With all my love,