Journeys

357660320_mq9k9-oIt’s a funny thing, life. In interviews, they sometimes ask you where you see yourself in five or ten years. I always feel like I must have some ambitious five-year plan for taking over the world or something. The honest answer is, “I have no earthly idea.” Twenty years ago I wanted to either be an Air Force pilot or a baseball player (this is why we don’t ask ten-year-olds what their ten year plan is). Fifteen years ago I wanted to be a doctor. Ten years ago I wanted to be a programmer. Then I was one, for five years. Now… Well, now I want to be a lawyer. But this time, it’s felt more right than anything else.

All this is sparked by a conversation I had with a friend this evening; it was interesting, because as that friend talked about interests and things that stir the soul, I couldn’t help but think back to my own experience in school and life. I enjoyed learning about technology in school, but as I got into my career, I quickly realized that while I loved it, it wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing with my life. I couldn’t bear the thought of spending the rest of my working life at some company or another, writing code for some system or another that someone would replace in three to five years. I would be appreciated by my work, but once I retired, I would be replaced by someone half my age that would probably grumble because he or she wasn’t taught to write code the way that I wrote it. I would have spent my life doing something that made very little impact on the daily lives of others.

Now, it’s not to say that I think that I have to be doing something that makes a daily impact on other people’s lives, because I think we can do that in every aspect of our lives, regardless of our profession. Take Jimmy, for example, one of the custodians at the law school. The man has worked at the law school for a very long time, in a job that you might not equate with making an impact. But on several occasions, he’s impacted my life in a profound way, delivering a message that I needed to hear at just the right moment. In those moments, I wanted to either break down and cry or jump up and give Jimmy a big hug. At any rate, it’s not the nature of the work that you do that impacts people, but whether you pour your whole heart into it, which is something that I just couldn’t do in technology. Others can, but I discovered that it wasn’t my passion.

So, here I am in law school, seeing if I can pour my whole heart into it. It has become a passion of mine, and I find myself disappointed if I’m not stirred by a class. I know that will happen from time to time, and I’m okay with it. I also know it will be tough; after all, the “original” definition of passion is suffering. All law students do plenty of suffering, that’s for sure. I suppose all of that is to say that five years ago, I would never have thought I’d be where I am today. But, though I may not know exactly where I’ll be in five years, I can say that the idea is finally starting to take shape.

Note: The picture I posted has some relevance for tonight’s post. You can’t see it, but just to the right of the cliff in the picture is a road that leads down into a small mining town. If you don’t see the signs, you could cross that bridge headed wherever, never knowing that the town below exists, or just how beautiful it really is back in there.

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