I’m going to change things up just a little here. Instead of doing today’s Blogtember post, I’m going to do yesterday’s instead – Describe a distinct moment when your life took a turn.
I can think of a couple of these moments along the way, but the one that speaks to me for this post is my law school graduation. My entire life I wanted to be a lawyer (want some good advice about that – look here). I finally got my chance in 2005 and made the move down to Miami, Florida to attend the University of Miami School of Law. I graduated in May 2008 – without honors, job offers, or any viable idea of what to do next.
Law school was an incredibly difficult period in my life. I was living with and engaged to a guy that was very unhappy. Unhappy in a way I didn’t know how to deal with, even if I had had the time to do so. I couldn’t concentrate on school and quite frankly, I had already realized that while I had the desire I didn’t have the heart to be an attorney. I broke up with my fiancée just before graduation and watched him drive away. Then I put on my happy face and colorful graduation gear and walked across that stage with all 400+ of my classmates. I was in a U-haul heading for Arizona less than a week later.
Everything I did leading up to law school was for the purpose of getting into and being successful during law school. I don’t know how many times I probably uttered the phrase “If I got caught doing that, I’d never get into law school.” (I also don’t know how my friends managed to not kill me for saying it so often!) There was a brief period during my senior year of undergrad when my gut said “do something else.” But you see, my mom always wanted me to go to law school. I’ve realized in retrospect that being a lawyer was not really my goal so much as a way to please my her. We had a difficult relationship that never really got resolved before she passed away during my senior year of high school. So going to law school was, in a way, my way of honoring her. I never really thought about the part of life that comes after graduation. I’d never had any dreams of fighting for human rights or becoming a successful trial attorney. When I walked across that stage at graduation, I realized just how lost I really was.
I’ve spent over 5 years now trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. Some days I still feel without clear purpose. I did eventually give myself permission to find an alternative career that allows me to use my degree without involving a courtroom. I love the area I work in now – environmental conservation – but I don’t necessarily love my job. Unfortunately, none of my education really qualifies me to move on to the job position (I think) I want and my student loans from law school totally shut down any ideas of going back for another degree. I also want to move out of the country, which just adds an additional layer of complication. But at least I’m a thousand times happier than I was when I was aiding divorces and lawsuits. Silver lining (smile).
It is an odd sensation to accomplish a goal after 20+ years and a whole lot of blood, sweat, and tears only to discover it’s not really what you wanted after all. In a way, it’s been a loss of trust in myself. I don’t want to make any major decision because I’m scared it will be the wrong choice. So I feel like I waste precious days making excuses instead of really living. I have, however, decided recently that I have to change that. Life is entirely too short to live for the weekend! So I’ve been exploring my options and talking to my law school buddies that work in immigration (I want to be prepared when I finally find my opportunity (smile)). And I’m looking for new opportunities that I wouldn’t necessarily see if I had a clear goal in mind. I’m trying to see that as a good thing (hard for my personality). I’ve reached a turning point and I’m putting the positive vibes out to the universe without any prejudice. I have confidence that the universe will respond in kind (big smile).