This Thanksgiving I was grateful to have the time, as the young lawyer, to reflect on the things I am most grateful for in my life – faith, family, friends, work, food on the table and a roof over my head. Sometimes, it can be that easy. Oftentimes, that level of simplicity brings about the greatest joy in life.
Looking back now, I realized that this Thursday was the first day since becoming a lawyer I was able to completely disconnect from my work. It was the first day I didn’t obsess about returning calls, checking emails, or leaving the house with a card. More amazing is that it was an unconscious realization because I didn’t understand what was happening until after it was over. This leads me to believe that I am reaching a certain level of maturity as a young lawyer; I am finally learning how to disconnect.
In my last story I revealed to you the frustrations of being unable to leave the work, even on a seven-mile run. Indeed one of the greatest struggles I have had as a young lawyer has been the inability to disconnect. As a professional, your life becomes your work – that is, I believe, the definition of a professional. That is why it is so important, as a professional, to love what you do. I love being a lawyer, as you all know. But every relationship has its bumps. For me, that bump has been the inability to detach every now. It is for this reason I feel that being able to disconnect evidences a certain level of new life; maturity if you will.
I used the day of disconnect to finish Vonnegut’s masterpiece, The Cat’s Cradle. In one of the most climatic endings I have encountered in fiction, Vonneget laments, “As the poet said, Mom, ‘Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, “It might have been.”’”
As a young lawyer I have had my moments of doubt – moments when I have wandered about what might have been. But its days such as Thursday when I agree with Vonnegut – what might have been are wretched words. Words that interfere with our ability to enjoy today. What is. In this moment. In this amazing space where I glance at my phone and smile to see a happy Thanksgiving text message from a client. Where I am content to be where I am and excited about where I am going. Where I am grateful for the unbridled joy simplicity brings.
“A warrior does not give up what he loves, he finds the love in what he does”
― Dan Millman, Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives