It’s 3am and I’m up again, a decision I’ll probably somewhat regret tomorrow. Tiny Boss is over a year old, still breastfeeding, and wakes me up at night. I actually don’t mind because it gives me a chance to write, and I love writing (I say this now – ask me again tomorrow in the afternoon when I’m dying to get a second cup of coffee).
Too bad when I get the writing bug, all too often I’m drawing a blank. Like I want to write, but I don’t know what to write about. Kind of like those people you know who just talk for the sake of talking.
But then I found this.
No seriously, I found this. Well, my friend sent it to me. It’s seven writing tips from Hemingway.
Most of these tips are applicable to all writers, not just those writing fiction, as well as other creatives – concept artists, copywriters, designers of all varieties.
So I’ll take the first prompt: “To get started, write one true sentence.”
I have no idea what I’m doing with my life.
This quote kind of sums it up for me – “If you want to make God laugh, tell him all your plans.”
Things were so much more black and white, cut and dry, when I was in college. I could literally list the things I was into, and do them. Environmentalist? Don’t eat meat. Believe in fair labor? Get arrested with 53 other students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in an “anti-sweatshop protest” (the mission was a bit more specific than this, but that’s another post, another time.)
I went straight into law school after college. I don’t know what exactly I was thinking, but it was something like, “if I go to law school, I’ll have the power to start really changing things up.”
It wasn’t a very well thought out plan though. Skip ahead 10 years later, after three years of law school, the bar exam, and changing jobs every two years.
That’s when Tiny Boss came, and life hasn’t been the same since. In some ways, nothing else matters. But now he’s a toddler, and time is speeding up, and I’m feeling that pressure to do something with my life. And I don’t want to be a lawyer anymore.
Being a lawyer (mostly) sucks.
I’m not alone here. Lawyers aren’t the happiest bunch when it comes to job satisfaction, according to the American Bar Association, and me, and Forbes magazine, which lists “associate attorney” as the number one most unhappiest job. There’s even a book, The Happy Lawyer: Making a Good Life in the Law, that explores why so many attorneys are unhappy.
Maybe it’s because, according to the American Bar Association, “only 16 percent of lawyers found that their jobs afforded them the ability to contribute to the public good as much as they expected when they entered the profession.” Maybe.
The book also purports to offer “more fulfilling paths to careers in the law.” Ha! We’ll see.
I often say that I see the world through the lens of a mother – in a sense, every child is my child. When I see a skinny baby in the bathroom of a courthouse, I wonder if she’s sick or diagnosed with failure to thrive. When I struggle with the NPO guidelines that dictate fasting before surgery – not an easy task to refuse to feed your infant or toddler – my heart aches in a way it never did before when I think of the millions of mothers who watch their children slowly die of starvation and malnutrition.
Yes, every child is my child.
I watched a little girl crossing the street the other day with her mother. When she finished crossing, she ran back to the stoplight so she could press the walk buttons. Going both directions. I laughed, because as a mother, I appreciate the little things that make a kid happy.
A couple years ago, a good friend of mine told me once that she didn’t want to have kids because she didn’t want them to grow up in this world. At that time, I was puzzled, because I couldn’t grasp the thought of not having kids simply due to the state of affairs of the world. But I understand her now, because I worry a lot more about pollution, cancer, sustainability, abuse, and just humanity in general. Yet at the same time, I still believe my child will make this world better.
And me, now that I’m a mom, I know I should make this world better too. But how do I do it? Some days I barely have enough energy to get through the day. Not to mention the whole lawyer thing.
This is probably my longest post yet, and part of it is because I’ve been up for over three hours and I’m finally starting to feel it. So I leave you with this:
“As parents, it’s not our job to toughen up our children to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.” – L.R. Knost, author of Two Thousand Kisses a Day