Five months ago, I left the world of corporate litigation in search of a better, calmer and more simple life. I can't say that I have completely "recovered" from my time in a large law firm, but I can say that every day I take another step towards having the life that I envisioned.
In my prior life, stress was the name of the game. Long hours with demanding partners, associates and clients took their toll on my health and my marriage. I worked so hard to ensure that my son was insulated from my stress and from the effects it had had on my marriage, but I am sure that he felt it too. Even when I was not physically in the office, I lived in fear that I would be called upon to drop whatever I was doing to attend to a client or partner need. I tried my best to control the stress, but I know that I snapped at those around me, whether it was the innocent paralegal, a delivery guy or my husband. I didn't realize until I was removed from that environment how hard it had been on my husband and I. Now, I see that years of me putting the demands of work first took a toll. Not an unrecoverable toll, but a toll that is taking time and hard work to heal. We were consumed with our city life-style: the best and the newest had to be ours. Fancy stroller! Condo downtown! Shiny new clothes and shoes! Outsourcing our laundry, our cleaning!
Looking forward, I see possibility and a return to simplicity. I see a happy marriage with my husband, where we are engaged in our own lives and with our family. I see laughter around a full dining room table. I see a house that does not contain the latest, greatest and newest of things but all that is in the house is lived in and loved. I see our sheets hanging on a line, being dried by a summer breeze that smells of hay. I see our now vacant "hobby farm" populated with animals and us, at least in part, living off of our land. I see my husband's career taking off and him continuing to be engaged, challenged and loving it. I see my son growing up and learning the value of laughter, love and hard work. I see a good future for us.
As for my career, I don't know. The not knowing is really tough. I'm not sure that I see myself as a practicing attorney twenty-years from now. I see myself working, but where and in what capacity remains a mystery. I have time, at least a little while, to figure out my next step. I crave a plan. My mind would be so much more at ease if I knew, or could decide, the path that I want to walk. But I know that I need time vacillating, dreaming, imagining and wondering "what if." So, for now, I will enjoy the sense of possibility. I will embrace a return to the good life and simplicity, knowing that at least I am walking in the right direction.