I’ve spent no small amount of time over the last few years writing and speaking about attorney well-being…about how we can take better care of ourselves as lawyers, how we can live less stressful, more meaningful lives.
But while doing it, there was a feeling I could never shake. No matter what I did, no matter how hard I worked on myself, I always felt a bit like a fraud.
In spite of all of the presentations I’ve given about mindfulness, my mind still races through my to-do list every morning during my mediation practice. In spite of knowing the importance of exercise and eating well, I find myself coming home too tired to climb on the bike or the treadmill. I grab a Big Roast Beef at Arby’s after a long day of depositions—telling myself I deserve it. Knowing the importance of a good night’s sleep, I still wake up regularly at 3:00 in the morning (the hour of the wolf), fearful of all that’s waiting for me the next day.
Truth be told, I really don’t spend a lot of time working out, sitting on a mediation cushion, blissfully walking on the beach or carefully planning nutritious meals. My days are largely consumed by trying to keep up with clients’ reporting guidelines, finding coverage for the site visit scheduled at the last-minute or being double booked for depositions, dealing with the unexpected resignation, sending emails for past due bills, making sure my son finishes his homework. I’m the last person who should be writing and speaking about attorney well-being That’s better left to those who have retired or left the practice and no longer have to deal with clients, trial rosters and running a business. Or those whose children are grown or have no care-taking responsibilities. People who have their shit together.
But here’s the thing. I don’t want to read about attorney well-being from people who have their shit together. Because having your shit together isn’t life. Life is a case popping up on a trial roster. Life is the certified letter, the crying baby, the call from the emergency room as you’re about to climb into bed. Life is the arrogant opposing counsel, the pissed off client. Life is realizing your pants have been unzipped all morning. Life is the incessant dog barking at 2:00 in the morning. Life is the teenager who doesn’t care what you think and the judge who refuses to honor your order of protection. And life is the delusion that this kind of stuff only happens to you.
So, as I’ve begun to make peace with the fact that life is not about having everything under control, I’ve decided to start posting this blog again. Even though I don’t have it all together, and even though I constantly fall short of implementing so much of what we talk about, this conversation about well-being is still worthwhile. I know I am far from perfect. But maybe having it figured out isn’t the point after all. Maybe the point is showing up, again and again in our imperfect form, and believing that the conversation about how we can take better care of ourselves (and each other) is worth having.