Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Roller skating!

I tell my kids to go out and try things without worrying about what other people think. I don't want them to avoid experiences because they're afraid they'll make fools of themselves. Life is too short.

So today I needed to be with my daughter at a roller skating rink. The adults were invited to skate but only a few did. I was terrified I'd embarrass myself and fall on my face. But I followed my own advice and went out there anyway. It was so much fun! I felt sorry for the grown ups.

Monday, March 30, 2009

What will I do without it?

RIP my darling laptop computer. We had fun while it lasted. I'm not sure how you died but my guess is that some evil virus or disgusting worm infected you while I was traipsing around the net. I thought I was protected, but apparently not well enough. So, until the techy-type people at my office do their techy magic (I'm still on the payroll for the next couple months -thank god - so I'm still using a work computer) and send you back to me all fixed up, I'll have to do all my online stuff on my Blackberry. Which kinda sucks but it is what it is.

I've been working on a post for the past week and a half but haven't been able to finish it. But I'm anxious to get a little content on this blog so I'm trying out Mobile Blogger. Maybe if I can post via email, I'll actually post more often!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The art of slacking off (or what I learned to do after I got fired)

I'm SlackerMom and I'd like to introduce myself. I'm one of the legions of "laid off" lawyers wandering around the blogosphere hoping that our AdSense accounts start sending us enough cash to resume our Starbucks habit. (Click a few ads, will ya? This girl could use a latte.)

I'd like to think that my humiliating fall from grace as a partner in a large, prestigious law firm is actually a blessing in disguise. I loved law school and there were times when I actually liked being a lawyer. I had a good time as a young, ambitious in-house counsel. The fun lasted until I was older, more cynical and severely overworked. And underpaid, of course (aren't we all?) But then I started to really dislike being in-house counsel because all I ever did was go to meetings (interminable and BORING meetings) and tell other lawyers what to do. So, I did a brilliant thing. I decided to go back to a law firm but this time - THIS TIME - I was gonna do it right. No more mid-size firms with nice people and reasonable hours for me. Nooooo. I went big time, huge firm, lots of prestige . . . and floor after floor of assholes. They must have slipped me the Kool-Aid during the interviews because I bought the story about how they were unfairly portrayed by "rival firms" and rejected candidates from "unworthy" law schools. I knew I'd be overworked but at least they were paying me some serious money.

After a few months, I realized that I had made a terrible mistake. That not only did I hate being at that firm, I hated being a lawyer. After 14 years, I realized I did NOT want to spend the rest of my life reading boring documents, getting yelled at by clients who don't like hearing that their brilliant plan won't work because it's against the law and arguing about stupid crap that just doesn't matter in the big scheme of life on Planet Earth. But at that point, I was wearing the golden handcuffs. Two kids in private school. A great condo with a big mortgage. A mean Starbucks habit and a desperate love of vacations to Maui with lots of expensive spa treatments. (I know - I'm a cliche).

But I found out that life has a funny way of giving you what you want even if you don't know you want it. Or you're too scared to go get it. I hated my job but I couldn't bring myself to quit and, given the economy, there was (and still is) no way I was going to get a job. Certainly not one that would pay anything close to what I was making. So, the universe in all its wisdom, kicked me in the ass. And then, just for fun, it kicked me again - my husband and I are getting divorced. This split has been years in the making but the timing sucks (is there such a thing as a good time for a divorce?).

I would feel sorry for myself if there weren't people far worse off than me. OK, I'm lying - I feel sorry for myself all the time. I just hate to admit it because it's "indulgent nonsense" as my favorite American Idol judge would say. At this point, we still have a roof over our heads and some money in savings. I was given a relatively generous amount of time to "find a place where there's a better fit" so I've been getting paid without actually having to go to work (until mid-summer). Which is really awesome.

So, I spent 14 years working my butt off as a lawyer. I made good money but didn't spend as much time with my family as I would have liked. And my creative life . . . I didn't have a creative life. The main joy in my life is - and will always be - my beautiful daughters. Without them, I would have jumped ship long ago. Both the lawyer ship and the marriage ship. Now, here I am, forced to walk the plank off of TWO ships. At the same time. Kids, don't try this at home.

Now we get to the good part. The blessing in disguise part. It's taken me a few months of ceaseless and highly unproductive fretting, fuming, procrastinating and Pop Tart-eating before I realized that I'm being handed an amazing opportunity. I can start over. I can have a new life, with all the wisdom of a 40-something but the open book possibilities (and tiny bank account) of a 20-something. My grandmother just turned 99 years old. NINETY NINE YEARS PEOPLE! If I live to see even 84, I can live my whole life over without having to worry about learning to walk! Or Mrs. Williams, the mean 3rd grade teacher! Or puberty! Imagine that. If I'm thoughtful about things, I can do it better this time.

Being thoughtful is a new thing for me. My husband complains that I never take the time to just sit and think. I always have a book, crossword puzzle, knitting project, computer game - something, anything to occupy my mind so I don't have to think. Part of the problem is that I have Attention Deficit Disorder which was just diagnosed last year. It' s VERY hard for me to sit and do nothing. Especially when my medication is a controlled substance that makes me run around like a banshee.

My thoughts for now are centered on this: What the hell am I going to do to make a living? It's one thing to sit in your office, with your fat paycheck and company-paid Blackberry and dream of being a writer. It's another thing to actually do it. To actually be in the position where, if you decide to be a writer, you HAVE to make money. Failure is not an option. Besides writing, I have a few other business ideas but none of them alone will, at least at first, make much money. But I'm going to try (very, very hard) to stop worrying about money and start worrying about the health and well-being of my soul. I'm going to let go, relax a little, let my mind wander. I'm going to sit on the balcony and commune with the ladybugs. I'm going to think about the world of options that are open to me and I'm going to embrace it all. I am going to work hard at slacking off for awhile. And it really feels good.