The Imagine post has taken an interesting direction, with commenter Toots taking a new look at the fantasy issue. Then, Michael emphathizes with my angst-ridden birthday post from a few weeks ago. Read the comments first. I think I see a theme emerging.
I graduated from law school almost ten years ago, and it look me a long time to admit fully to myself that I didn't really like it that much. I did enjoy law school and I did well. With one parent and a sibling practicing law, I just couldn't convince myself that I ought to be doing something else. Plus, I'm actually pretty good at it. So it was easier to simply blame the atmosphere at the law firm I started at, or the type of law I was practicing. But after five years of the most flexible practice imaginable, with work that is about as interesting as it gets in my practice area, it still feels like I'm wearing a shoe that's too small. So for the last ten years, I've been hanging between practicing law on the one hand and nature photography and writing on the other -- never committing fully to one or the other. And this lack of integration had me alternating between valleys of despondence and inertia and then the impotent panic that comes from a sense that one is wasting one's life.
But recently I think I'm seeing things a bit more clearly. The law, like any job, can be a tool (at least the way I'm fortunate enough to practice it) -- and an extremely valuable tool -- to create some semblance of the life I'd like to have. And that's the best way for me to look at it. Inflexible, binary thinking was doing me in. So as soon as I stopped being surprised by the fact that I'm not interested in devoting my entire life to the law, the more it was possible to become exactly how I described myself a few posts ago:
For those who don't know, I'm licensed as an attorney and I use that work to finance my travel, nature photography, and nature seminars, like the one I took this summer on climate change and glacial recession in Glacier National Park, Montana.)
That's my story, which doesn't interest me as much as hearing yours. Toots already told us her story (her? his? Let me know if I have the pronouns wrong, Toots). What's yours? Are you content? Have you created the life you want or is there still more to do? For what it's worth, I think you can be content and still imagine things you'd like to do or rather be doing. I also think one's degree of contentment can change over time.