On Getting Old

The last two Augusts I’ve tried different dietary plans. In 2017 I did meatless August. Last year it was low -carb August. I had hoped to do something similar this August but back surgery in mid-July put a damper on the summer of 2019. For two weeks before the surgery I could barely move. After the surgery wasn’t much better. For three weeks I wondered if it was worth it. Now approaching a month post-surgery I am seeing the light.

That much time of physical inactivity gave me lots of time to reflect on lots of things, one of which is my career. I realize more of it is behind me than in front. September marks 43 years since I was sworn in as an attorney. Even as I write this I find it hard to fathom. I keep looking at that number, 43, with some awe. I watched the Watergate soap opera unfold and bring Richard Nixon down. While today’s lawyers might think Mitchell, Erlichman, Haldeman and Dean was a Washington, DC, law firm, we know better. Roe v. Wade was a brand-new Constitutional law case when I took Con Law.

I realized some years ago that law is a dysfunctional profession. We’re always dealing with someone else’s baggage; the people we work with (against) are always telling us we’re wrong; and clients resent paying us because they think anyone can see they are right and the other side is wrong so clearly that we should be unnecessary. Add to this the fact that every law school graduate since the early 70s has entered a saturated job market and you have a strong recipe for burnout. Only in the past decade or so has the Utah State Bar Association recognized this and started talking about it. Though it’s overdue I applaud their efforts. At least we’re acknowledging the elephant in the room.

I have come to realize that while I enjoy the law, I’m less enthusiastic about lawyering, the day-to-day grind. The good fight has lost its sense of goodness for me. Two years ago I wanted to make it to 50 years in practice. Today, practicing for seven more years isn’t appealing. What that means for my future is unclear. I know I could never retire to golf games and traveling the southwest in an RV in winter. So the question looming before me is, what does my future hold?