Someone asked me just the other day how long I had been practicing law, which took me a minute to calculate because it seems so long ago but yet just like it was yesterday. So it has been over eight years now I have been a lawyer. Where did the time go?
When I graduated I had pictures in my mind of what I wanted to do and where I would be ten years later. I'd still be working for the same firm for several years, building up my experience so that I could strike out on my own. I did not really picture myself with so many varying periods of experience at different places of employment. My resume' is a lot longer than I thought it would be.
Things do not always turn out the way you thought they should. God knows life did not go the way I wanted in the past. I would not say that I necessarily regretted the experience because I do not. Had I not worked as a family law attorney in a small firm, I would not have seen firsthand how to deal with clients, present yourself in court and prepare a case. Had I not worked with the state bar, I would not have the connections I do have now with so many attorneys in the state. Had I not worked for the Department of Child Services, I would have never developed the confidence, ability to think quickly on my feet and stress tolerance in court and out of court. I would not be as passionate about protecting children from abuse and neglect as I am today. I developed my desire to help others from that job, and that desire grew even more through my work at legal aid. Working at legal aid was why I now take modest means cases for clients who do not qualify for free service but yet are not able to afford your average attorneys fees. Had I not had the last work experience I had outside of the law, I would not have had the courage to take that leap and step out on my own.
See, today I am where I wanted to be eight years ago. This is what I was meant to do. However, would I have been prepared to truly take on this challenge? Probably not. All of those experiences brought me to today. Sure, those experiences were challenging and many not ones I want to relive. I could look at the past and go "woe is me, my past was so challenging. It is so unfair." It really does not matter, though, does it? It is in the past. Today is the present, and the decisions I make today will shape my future.
Those days when I felt sorry for myself, thinking I was a failure and comparing my progress to all of the students who graduated with me, do not really matter. I was not a failure then, of course, but there is no point looking at that period of my life and dwelling on the things that did not happen the way they should. Let go of the past and focus only on the present, making the future as amazing as it can be. That is where I am now, and for the first time in my life, I could not feel any more at peace.