When I first began writing these stories, I contemplated the end; the day I would cease to be a young lawyer. At the same time, I wondered when it is that the young lawyer earns their stripes – so to speak – and becomes a (non-young) lawyer. In fact, readers have asked me this question a lot: when do you cease being a young lawyer?
What I never contemplated was the day I would no longer be a young man. And there’s the rub. Much like turning thirty – this realization conveniently snuck up on me.
At the end of this month, I will say goodbye to a decade and no longer be twenty-something. As the days ebb, I approach the twenty-seventh of October with an almost shameful sense of dread. For the past year, I have been jokingly telling my friends and family, “I’m getting old.” In less than twenty days, that joke becomes reality. A reality I was reminded of on Sunday evening at a Bonobo concert with my girlfriend in Ybor City. Looking around and breathing in the deep scent of teen spirit, for the first time I noticed I was no longer the kid in the room.
Now, I understand to most people thirty is not old. In fact, it may even be an insult of sorts to label thirty as old. (I apologize in advance if I offend.) Nevertheless, something inside tells me those who could be offended would just as easily understand and remember the day they turned thirty. As with most milestones, there is that inescapable melancholic desire to reflect.
Reflection enters, waves and declares with a boisterous voice:
At the entrance to the path down memory lane stands a blinking neon sign that reads: “It all goes by so fast.”
Applause sign lights up and the crowd goes wild.
It seems like just yesterday, my brother looked me straight in the eyes before imparting his timeless wisdom: “Enjoy it, buddy. Because after you turn twenty-one, it flies by.” Nine years later, Icarus laughs as my wings ache and my girlfriend tells me age is a state of mind; that I will only be as old as I allow myself to feel. “Dom, if you say you feel old or are old, then your going to be old!” If I could somehow combine that with and believe my mom’s compliment, “Dom, you definitely do NOT look thirty,” then I might be able to find some semblance of a happy medium. But I have never been one for naivety, no matter how convenient.
The point of this long-winded narrative is to arrive a curious paradox. I feel old because I have been blessed with the opportunity to follow my brother’s advice. And the only feeling that overtakes this Prufrock state of mind is that of gratitude. Gratitude to God for thirty blessed years. Gratitude to my family and friends who have been there every step of the way and made these thirty years feel like sixty, but in a really good way. Gratitude to Marcia for loving me for who I am, grey hairs and all. Gratitude to those I spend the majority of my days with at Dogali Law Group for the amazing opportunity to one day be the old lawyer this young lawyer dreams of being.
Reflection smiles before his final soliloquy.
Tomorrow I may be old; but today I will laugh like a kid again because I have this sneaky suspicion life’s too short to do otherwise.