Like most years, a birthday is just another day in the calendar, signifying that you are, in fact, one day older. But on the one day a year we count the years, and not just the days, it seems okay, even if self indulgent, to take stock of what the last year brought and what the next year may bring. It's difficult to do, currently, in the midst of the strangest two to three month stretch of my life thus far, studying for the bar while also finding brief moments of enjoyment and perhaps even growing up.
While slightly detailed in a prior post, bar study is like a full time job, if your full time job also involved cramming three years worth of knowledge in to your head for a three day test while having your teeth pulled. Unlike the first year of law school, which I only realized was miserable when looking back on it, this is pretty miserable in the moment- not necessarily one conducive to an exercise such as this.
But, pausing to take stock in a brief break from the books, the past year and upcoming year may well prove to be the most formative when I (hopefully am able to) look back 50 to 60 years down the line. A true end of formal education, combined with beginning a new job and career, is both intimidating and exciting, a unique blend of dread and adrenaline not often experienced of doing something stupid (like skydiving, I would imagine, if I ever had any desire to jump out of a plane. I do not.). With this change comes a longer-term perspective than I have needed to undertake in the past; there is now a need to consider more than just my immediate 1-2 year needs.
Part of this thinking happened to come when my grandfather passed away last May, as I was set to finish finals and graduate law school. Outside of my immediate family, my grandfather was (is?) probably the person who influenced me most. While experiences (thanks, college!) truly help you to find out who you are, my grandfather helped to instill the values and direction which help make those choices leading to that experiential learning. He is missed, but his passing as the last of my grandparents also shifts the focus to the future. I, despite the presence of the next generation in younger cousins, thought of family in a 3 generation strata: grandparents, parents, and myself (and sibling). But now, to continue that model, we all move up a level. For me, that means no longer being the "youngest," but rather, being more "adult" than before, leading to this longer term perspective. No longer am I, and presumably, dear reader, you (due to the whole 'there are only about 17 of you, and I know who 16 of you are- so, disregard this, the 3 married people who read) on the bottom of the generational totem pole, but, in due time, we will be the role that has always been filled by our parents.
That said, I cannot wait for that next step. My parents are extraordinarily fortunate to have a fantastic set of close friends, found as they were beginning a family (and before). While college was unmatched in terms of meeting some wonderful people, we have mostly since scattered to different cities. I will always care for those folks, but sadly, they are not and likely will not be part of my daily life. The people around me now, including an incredible set of friends who surprised me with dinner for my birthday and have been travel companions in the past, are the people I am going to be lucky enough to surround myself with moving forward in the long term.
Normally, and historically, I have been reticent to accept change. But that is less true now; I currently welcome the longer term perspective, and the growing up and changes it brings.
Per usual, TFR, but also thank you for likely being more than just a reader.