So, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the nature of work, and life, and making money and all that. Nothing newsworthy, I don’t think, certainly nothing groundbreaking… but a couple things have brought this on. The first, and most important, is that my grandma having a stroke really put some things into perspective for me. Like, how important family is… and how quickly things change. From an energetic, sharp, immensely talented 87 year old, to hospital/rehab centre confinement and difficulty forming words, forming sentences, and certainly a long, and probably incomplete recovery. Sigh. On one of the worst days she had, I told myself “Screw my essay, losing marks and not doing my readings. I’m going to see my grandmother.” I can’t remember another time where I had so little thought for school work… not even when I was cruising around Europe and eating bacon and eggs on a terrace in the Greek Isles (about a year ago today, actually….*sob!*). Typically the idea of getting poorer grades than I think I am capable of sets me into a fit of histrionics and melodrama… as well as hermit-ing myself in front of my computer and pounding the redbull (okay that’s not totally true, I hate redbull and only use it in the most dire situations requiring an all-nighter when I’m already tired of the taste of coffee… but still). It really was a reality check, though. I wish with all my heart and soul that it hadn’t happened the way it did, but I’ll leave that in the hands of the Lord and just be thankful that it wasn’t worse, and that I have, in fact, learned from it.
And for the record, stroke-addled or not, my grandmother is still the most amazing woman.
Another impetus for the philosophical edge these days is my new schedule, which involves nearly full-time hours at Meridian Credit Union. Now don’t get all sarcastic “poor you” on me, I’m a student! A regular schedule is new territory that takes time to get used to! Fortunately for me, it’s not the nine-to-five. Well, it’s 8:45-to-5:15 usually, but I get a weekday off thrown in here and there to instead work a shorter Saturday shift, and sometimes a later shift on Thursdays or Fridays when we’re open late. Regardless, it’s a full schedule, and I spend my days with a bunch of bankers (who, granted, I really like), who DO work nine-to-five. What that means, really, is that they actually likely spend more of their waking hours at work than they do off work doing things they enjoy. In my opinion, you damn well better enjoy what you do for work if you’re going to spend most of your life doing it. Again – not a groundbreaking conclusion… but I think this is something a lot of people haven’t, or refuse to, grasp. As I prepare to write my LSATs and then apply to different law schools, I struggle with the likelihood that I will spend the three years of law school (provided I get in anywhere, of course) plus at least a few after with little-to-no life while I do articling and pay off my (certain to balloon) student loans. I mean, I already have trouble handling a regular, 4th-year university course load. What the heck will I do in law school?? And just for the degree?? I don’t even want to be a lawyer! (80 hour work weeks? Um, yeah, no thanks).
I’m not taking this path for the money, in fact, I’m terrified of making lots of money. Of losing perspective. Of becoming (more) selfish. Of forgetting what really matters (loving others in the name of Christ). Of making bad decisions…. or worse, making a good, but wrong decision. Of passing up opportunities that will never come by again. And for what? Money… to buy… stuff? Don’t get me wrong, I like shoes and eating out and vacations and stylish furniture and cool electronics and all that nonsense, but really? I want to enjoy what I do every day, regardless of salary, and I want to enjoy it before my body inevitably degenerates to a level where I become physically limited. And that may come sooner than I think. Or not, but why take that chance? (And why didn’t I take the time to have my grandma teach me how to make her peppermint cookies or zwieback buns before she no longer could?)
I know people who would argue for the money-making option. For at least a measure of comfortableness. That is valid, I think. But… I could also become a nun in an orphanage in, let’s say, China, and there would undoubtedly be immense joy in that. Extreme example, perhaps, but first-world privileged life is also undeniably meaningless at times. In the grand scheme of things, party politics is meaningless. And look at how worked up we get about it! (don’t tell my polisci profs I said that). Sorry. I don’t mean to get all Jeremiah in Lamentations on you. Just been thinking about this a lot. And how there had better be more meaning behind the whys of my career choice and life decisions than stuff and things and whatever. My desire to go to law school and whatever happens beyond stems from a feeling that this is what I am supposed to do. For now at least, this is enough motivation and meaning to do it (and hopefully also to enjoy it along the way).
While I sit with my bedroom window open a bit (FINALLY!), listening to crickets, frogs, distant fireworks – Happy Birthday, Queen Victoria? – and smelling some lingering smoke from a small bonfire dad set earlier, it’s easy to write this all and not really worry too much about some of the rather massive decisions I have coming up in my life. Tomorrow’s a holiday, after all, and I have a full belly. The LSAT is not for two weeks (@#(*&$^!!!!!), and after that I can finally get around to finishing Barbara Kingsolver’s The Lacuna and maybe another run-through of all seven Harry Potters before the sure-to-be epic final movie in July. But the fact remains that time moves ever on and on and there’s not a lot of time for the wasting or settling. Maybe I should make decisions and let the chips fall where they may. I know I should at least stop worrying so much.