Lately I’ve been feeling really guilty about going to law school. And I’ve been feeling that I have to be a lawyer. As though I should have known at 21 years old what I would want to do for the rest of my life, and I have to stick with that decision now.
Yesterday my therapist told me that I should watch my thoughts for “shoulds” and “have tos” because that’s probably someone else’s voice I’m hearing. I told her that I don’t even know what my voice is at this point. But let me give this a try:
I was 21 years old when I started law school. That means that I was 20 when I decided to apply. 20, people. I liked my economics classes and I loved my political science classes. Every other poli sci major was applying to law school. I thought I would be a politician. I was an idealist: I thought I could change things, I thought I knew all the answers. I didn’t yet see that all of politics is a cynical, compromising, vainglorious pursuit, dominated by narcissists who have no desire except for the power to make everyone else do as they dictate.
I had no understanding of the crushing amount of loans I’d have to take out, never having had to borrow money before in my life. I didn’t understand that most of a lawyer’s job is boring research and deadening reading and writing, carried out in an office full of people who’ve lost the will to pursue any kind of passion. The big ideas and fascinating topics of undergrad and law school were just a tease, a lure that I eagerly bit. I thought I would spend my life searching for the truth. Instead I spent years searching for typos in the minutiae of a boring legal document.
I made a mistake. But without that mistake I wouldn’t have met David and I wouldn’t have my beautiful Adeline. I wouldn’t be where I am now, surrounded by friends and loved ones. And I wouldn’t have this opportunity that I currently have to pursue something that I feel more passionate about. Law school was a wrong turn, but that doesn’t mean it was a dead end. In the maze of life, I simply need to find a new path. And that starts with forgiveness.