Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Not another failed writer blog

Photography by Ivan Prole, www.proledesign.com
I've been on a sabbatical. And, honestly, I think I did it wrong.

See, a sabbatical, to me, means taking time off from what you usually do in order to do something that you would much rather be doing. Instead, I had to stop doing what I really wanted to do in order to focus on the things that I really, really didn't want to do, not one little bit, not at all.

Such is the life of a lawyer. So I thought.

In March, after one of the longest years of my life, I quit my steady paycheck job (I won't call it well-paying, especially given the ratio of my salary versus hours worked, although I did manage to make ends meet for a little while), and set off into the great wide world of being a solo practitioner.

I couldn't be happier with this decision.

It's only been a month, but my quality of life has improved dramatically. My clients love me more, I love them more, and I love what I do about 1000% more (yes that extra zero is intentional). I'm connecting with people and looking them in the eye, as opposed to meeting them with a glassy-eyed, barely-there stare. I'm awake.

And, an unexpected benefit, I get to write more; in fact, some of my freelance clients came back to me, and I have a nice steady side income doing even MORE of what I love.

Does anyone have it better than I do, really?

The aftershocks of my prior life are still resonating. When I get done with work at 6pm instead of 8pm, I feel a colossal pang of guilt. Sometimes, if things are slow, I feel crippling anxiety and uselessness, even though the initial numbers are comforting. It's weird the psychological loops we get caught up in, isn't it? I may not have as many hours of work. But they are meaningful hours. And that's important.

I'm still adjusting to this idea that work can consist of things I like to do, instead of things I have to suffer through. I'm glad that I'm coming to this realization now, instead of later, before I suffered some permanent damage.

And now, if I really want to, in addition to being the lawyer I always dreamed of being, maybe I can also be the writer I always dreamed of being.

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