Monday, July 25, 2011

Perspective ...

For the last month I have been a bit of a mess. A relatively happy mess, but still a mess.

Want proof? A friend sent me a three-line e-mail. I responded with a page of single spaced rambling that revealed I am, in fact, a crazy person. Dave expressed disappointment when I showed up very late for a date he'd been planning for a month because I worked late instead and the guilt reduced me to tears. For two days I subsisted entirely on chocolate chip cookies.

I reviewed that rambly e-mail, and though I feel quite badly it ended up in a friend's inbox who didn't deserve the outburst, reviewing it gave me some perspective. After sifting the truth out of the hysteria, here is what I discovered:

I have not taken a weekend in more than 11 months. I have worked 6 and 7 day weeks for almost a year. Sure, I've traveled two or three times, but my laptop was right there with me. The fact the Grand Canyon does not have wireless should neither be a surprise nor stress inducing, and yet ... I studied/competed right through Fall Break, Christmas Break (including Christmas Eve and possibly Christmas Day), and Spring Break.

The work paid off. I'm in a much more competitive position than I was 11 months ago.

This will allow me to continue to work 6-7 days a week. The better I do, the more prestigious my job prospects. The more prestigious my job prospects, the more hours I'll be "allowed" to put into the legal profession.

This craziness MUST be stopped.

So do you know what I did? I killed myself for five days, got all of my work finished before Friday at 7 p.m. And I took a weekend.

I went to a movie. I hosted a bridal shower. I did some laundry. I canned apricot jam with my mom. I went to church. And I read a book that had nothing to do with the Constitution. It was wonderful.

Two years ago, before law school, if you asked me what I liked to do, I would have told you I was a writer. I would have told you that I liked to sing, and that I loved reading the news and talking to people about interesting things. I defined myself by my faith, my relationships, my talents, and my passions. Now I define myself by the number of hours I work, the number of briefs I've written, and the cases I'm working on. When someone asks me to define myself the only thing I can think of is "law student." It's consumed me.

So this law-school-free weekend was good. I reconnected a little. With my husband, my family, myself. I'm still not sure what I want to do after law school. The clerkships, the firm jobs, they still hold some appeal. But their enticement isn't nearly as sweet after savoring so many of the other fulfilling options life has to offer over the past couple of days.

I liked this post by a classmate. I'm not exactly sure how I got here -- obsessed with the law, working insane hours and pulling all nighters in the middle of summer for no apparent reason except to meet the demands of employers and because finding the answers to questions no one else has answered is like a high. But I sure as hell am going to find my way out.

It's hard to compete with clean laundry and homemade apricot jam.


Di said...

Oh Brooke, I didn't realize things were THAT crazy. I'm glad you took a weekend and hope you can figure out how to find some of that happy time again.

Miranda said...

I love how hosting a bridal shower is your way of relaxing. I'm sorry things are so crazy!

Cari said...

I know how you feel. That was kind of how my accounting degree was. I was working endless hours a day so that in the future I could work endless hours a day. The day I was suppose to apply for my master's program I thought, why am I doing this? and then didn't bother with getting the degree (for now) and took a step back. Best thing I ever did.

Johanna said...

I love you Brooke Emily.

Jackie said...

Oh Brooke. I want to cry for you. :( Life goes by so fast anyway to be so busy all the time. I'll keep you in my prayers. Maybe getting a blessing from Dave or your Dad to help you feel at peace and reconnected with the Lord and his love for you might help. You're wonderful, don't forget it.

PS, the word verification is derrie and I read it derriere all throughout my post. Made me smile.