Thursday, April 2, 2009

How to Save a Life

I am approaching my one year anniversary of my retirement from the legal profession. (cue bells, whistles, hoorays, and other general shouts of glee)

Around this time last year, I was tying up lose ends in Houston, saying my goodbyes to people at the courthouse, having tearful goodbyes with old friends, packing diligently, and thanking my lucky stars that I would never have to practice law again. My husband and I were preparing for our cross-country drive to our new home in Chicago. I was really excited about embarking on our new adventure together and for the big change that awaited: Goodbye "Sae, the Lawyer"; hello "Sae, the Lady of Leisure".

I figure this is the perfect time to reflect on how I have spent the past eleven months. In a weird way, I want to hold myself accountable. What do I have to show for this period of my life that I like to think of as "the Renaissance" (yes, my attorney days were the "Dark Ages")?

My purpose is more than just to somehow convince myself that I have not squandered away my months in indulgence and laziness. No, I am opening up honestly about the last eleven months in hopes that it can serve as a social experiment of sorts, or, at least, an informative distraction. I am sure that a lot of my friends who fall under my previous demographic of "working, professionals" are at least slightly curious. What does a person, who has no real responsibilities or parameters on how to spend her time, do with her days?

Well, here is my attempt to discover a sliver of substance and accomplishment...

May 2008- Adjusted to new home, new city (dealt with setting up, connecting, mounting, redoing, fixing, furnishing, decorating, new house stuff, new DL stuff, auto and bank stuff etc.) Ok, this is acceptable. Everyone has to do this "housekeeping" stuff when you first transplant yourself to a new city.

June2008- July 2008- BAR EXAM. Brandon studied while I did my best to learn how to cook and take care of him for those brutal 8 weeks of nonstop studying. I also traveled to Houston to help my father with his big move (packing, etc) and traveled to New York to help my sister with her move to Boston. I'd like to think that this was my selfless, giving I'll but myself some slack here too.

August 2008- We hosted out of town friends, partied at Lollapalooza, went to some Cubs games, and started our long quest for window treatments. I subbed in for a co-ed softball team and struck out every time at bat. I traveled to visit my family in Boston at their new home. I spent almost every free moment in August planning our month long trip to South America. Hmmm...starting to get a little tricky here. I should have really done more with my time. I should have written more, seriously explored future career options. I spent a lot of time trying to perfect our trip...maybe I could have done less? The jury is still out on this month.

September 2008- We traveled through Peru and Argentina for 25 days and had an AMAZING time. We explored the ruins of Machu Picchu, ate the best ceviche we have ever tasted in Lima, snowboarded in the mountains of Bariloche, gazed in awe at the majesty of Iguazu Falls and lived it up in the city of Buenos Aires. We also celebrated my birthday at a tango show in Buenos Aires! Que maravilloso! I have no regrets about this month. I wasn't going to soul-search or demand productivity from myself when I was drinking in all the sights and sounds of S. America. Even I, the queen of self-critique, have some limits.

October 2008- Celebrated the whole month upon finding out that Brandon had passed the Illinois bar exam. We were in Argentina when Lehman Brothers went under and shit was hitting the fan. Needless to say, we felt nervous throughout the whole trip and it was a big relief to find out that Brandon had passed the bar and still had a job. ;) We danced our hearts out at a Brazilian Girls concert, hosted more out of town friends, celebrated Brandon's bday, and dressed to the nines for the Sidley winter formal. Definitely could have done more this month...

November 2008- We watched the historic inauguration with friends and really felt a positive energy in the city. Brandon's mother came into town for Brandon's swearing in ceremony. I was at home alone (and a wee scared)for a week when Brandon had to go to New York for first year orientation. I bought a sewing machine (I had never touched a sewing machine before). We traveled to Boston to spend Thanksgiving with my family. Holidays are always a good excuse for a lack of productivity...

December 2008- Started having more social interactions with new friends (dinners, etc). Pulled my hair out while dealing with home builder for many weeks concerning home issues. Traveled to Houston for a nice long Christmas vacation. Spent our first New Year's Eve in our new city of Chicago. Holidays are always a good excuse for a lack of productivity...

January 2009- Ooh, this month is fuzzy at best. Wrote down a few resolutions. Had fun with friends. Yowzah...I could have written a freakin' novel during this month.

February 2009- Started this sporadic blogging adventure and committed myself to writing a little everyday(we all know how well that turned out). I was hired as a web content writer for my former Houston law firm. Ventured out and volunteer at a shelter for victims of domestic violence. Took my first ever sewing class and did something crafty for the first time in my life: I made a pillow! Went to a Bulls/Rockets game and cheered loudly for the Rockets. Hung out with friends (brunch, silly karaoke nights at our place, etc). Traveled to Boston for a week to spend time with family. Too little too late...

March 2009- We canceled plans right and left because of Brandon's heavy workload. One Friday night (after getting all dolled up), we ended up grabbing food from McDonald's because it got too late to have a nice dinner out. And as for me, what did I accomplish in March? I feel like the honest answer would be very little and, thus, the urgency of this post...

Ok, so after reflecting upon the past eleven months, I realize I have very little to show for this so-called Renaissance. However, I never intended to beat myself over it. I just want to stress that now is the time to be proactive and make a change... and that change starts...tomorrow.

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Hellish Kitty

Hellish Kitty
My beloved childhood diary