Making it up as I go along…

It’s the motto of my life, apparently.

As a parent I find myself making it up as I go along all the time, but I didn’t expect that to be my career experience as well. It turns out though, having one’s own practice means making it up as you go along!

I have a license that permits to take any case I choose, so long as I am able to devote enough time to understand it and advocate accordingly. So far I have had zer0 cases in my primary field of study, children’s advocacy, and two in my secondary, environmental law. The rest of the substantial stack of work on my desk are in areas I didn’t focus on. I spend a lot of time on my faithful steed (my mac) riding the internet in search of knowledge for Wills, Divorce, Custody and Guardianship arrangements, and now Grant writing. I also spend a lot of time emailing the people I know who focus on those fields and peppering them with questions. (I need to come up with some awesome thank you gifts for these mentors of mine).

So here I sit, in a quiet house, searching Google for grants and tips on grant writing, and following the rabbit hole down into the various depths of government grant sites. It strikes me that blogging may have better prepared me for Google searches than law school did, as I can think of no one better to travel deeper into these various sites than a blogger who can lose three hours to following a comment string. Maybe they should devise a professional blogging degree.

Many hats…

I have many hats, they vary in size and color, and I toss them on whenever I need them the most.

Today I donned my housewife hat and raced out the door to procure juice, cheese, coffee and the all important vaccum bag. Sadly, the bag in question was not present at my local shoppery, so I had to steal one from my mother. (Who happily owns the same vaccum I do. Always buy your mother’s vaccum for this reason.) Then I raced back to the house to host a playdate for Otter, Monkey, and their friend L, who is Otter’s age.

As soon as I got home I donned my housekeeper hat and made the coffee, vaccumed the house, did the dishes and prepared a late breakfast. Then I tossed on my teacher/daycare provider hat and rearranged the furniture so the children had room to roam and created centers with the kid’s toys so their little minds had many places to visit and grow. Once the kids were all happily playing between the sandbox and the living room under the supervision of my darling Monkey, I headed into the office for some lawyering.

I crammed the lawyer hat onto my head and researched the historic range of the Jaguarundi on Google. I added what I found to my complaint, along with some language direct from the Fish and Wildlife Service about how important a recovery plan would be to the conservation of that species. (Yay!) My research was interrupted by the sounds of cold children wishing to be let in and the realization that the freshly vaccumed floor was about to be turned into a beach.

I quickly grabbed by mommy hat and shuffled three very sandy kids into the house and into the shower. Once de-sanded I deposited them in front of a movie and plopped my chef’s hat onto my head. I made lunch out of cheese, crackers, grapes, bagels, and muffins. I served lunch up with Disney’s Robin Hood and raced back into the office to create a comprehensive yet friendly engagement letter for my new client. I shook my head internally as I added phrases like “Client hereby grants Attorney a lien on any and all claims…” and “severability in the event of partial invalidity.”

My designer/marketing hat came on while I redesigned my logo and ordered stickers for envelopes and invoicing. Then I tossed back on the mommy hat to pick up the scattered toy centers and help a now limping Monkey recover from her poor furniture climbing choice.

Obviously I once again located the blogger hat that slid behind my desk weeks ago and decided to at least try it on, if only for a moment, before once again tossing the housekeeper hat on to empty the trash and sweep the sand off the floor.


I find myself thinking about what defines us as people. We wander around within our identity, thinking we know who we are, but probably rarely really thinking about what that means, all the different aspects of who we are. The accident of our birth, the way we were raised, our social encounters, our personal choices, the hardships we have suffered, the success we have enjoyed, holding all these aspects of ourselves in the forefront of our minds while we wander through life would drive us mad. It would be like trying to hold all the facets of a diamond in your vision at once, or contemplating infinity.

When I was in D.C. I found myself walking downtown, a lawyer on the way to take the oath of admission, no longer young really though not quite old, the adult version of an adolescent. I felt the mother in me missing her children, the wife missing her spouse, the daughter wishing her parents could be there to see. I encountered the 12 year old playing dress up and experienced anxiety when I wondered if I had managed to fill out the forms right and follow all the instructions or if a single moment of oversight would render my journey useless. I held hands with the actress who wonders if she is playing this role really well or if it really is her.  I recognized the grieving friend wishing a lost loved one was there swearing in with her, and the beloved one who carried the wishes of many on her shoulders. It was a crowded walk.

It left me thinking. Do we discard parts of ourselves because we outgrow them or are we incapable of holding all these facets in our minds?

I spent a decade of my life singing, dancing, and acting. I studied theatre, I learned tap, salsa, and swing. I sang in Jazz choirs, chorale choirs, and alone. I performed on stage in front of hundreds of people at a time. I went dancing multiple times a week and loved every minute moving to overly loud and trite techno music surrounded by sweating hordes of humanity. I haven’t entered a club in months, I haven’t sung anything other than a lullabye in years. I still love to sing, to dance. Why did I drop these things by the wayside? Why didn’t I pick them back up again?

I spent a decade of my life swimming, competeing in swim team and getting up before the sun to dive into an unheated outdoor pool and swim 50 laps. I haven’t swum a lap in years.

I spent 6 years weightlifting, trianing my muscles to life more and more with each repetition. Now the heaviest thing I pick up is my daughter.

Do we decide at some point to stop doing, and therefore being, all these things that we loved or do we wake up one morning, alone for the first time in years, and find ourselves wondering where all these wonderful experiences went? I remember choosing not to go further in the theatre, I remember wanting a different professional life, but I don’t remember consciously discarding everything that came with it.

Once we have lost contact with all the various facets of our selves, is it too late to reintroduce them? Can we pick up where we left off? Will they even seem interesting to us anymore? Do the choices we make throughout our lives change us so dramatically that the people we were have little to nothing in common with the person we are? If so, is that former part of us still within, frozen in time, forever happy doing the things the current us chooses not to do or could these prior selves be a cause of the strife and discontentment that seem to come with age? Would we feel stifled if we still did in our thirties what we found fun in our teens?

It was a fleeting feeling, this crowded walk into downtown D.C. I was easily wrapped up in the moment of the swearing in and made a number of friends during the process. By the time I had left this sense of being surrounded was gone and I was filled with purpose and distracted by ambition. I am writing this tonight because I started a new series and it brought abruptly back my crowded walk.

Joss Whedon strikes again.