If you're as old as I am (or have a strange fetish for 70's television reruns), you probably remember this as Mr. Roarke's welcoming greeting to guests on Fantasy Island (shortly after Tattoo yells, "Da plane! Da plane!"). Today I really felt like my dog, Tasha, must have been transmitting the command to smile telepathically to virtually everyone we met on our walk because without exception, everyone who glanced at her couldn't help but smile.
Her natural enthusiasm for life is just that infectious.
It made me think about the purpose of my blog, to "have more fun" in my post-lawyer life. Since I am not the first recovering ex-attorney to write a blog, I spent considerable time reading the work of my peers to see how they approach similar topics.
Without naming which blogs I'm referring to, one thing became very clear to me: the writers were treating their blogs like legal briefs in many regards. In other words, whether they were writing about pursuing happiness or attempting to be more present in the moment, they couldn't seem to help but write within very tightly defined parameters, aimed at a very specific goal, within a set period of time. The writing itself was usually excellent, but it was linear, logical, and outcome oriented.
In legal writing, that is a very good thing.
In fact, one of the very first things they teach you in law school is that there is only one way to write: "IRAC" -- "Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion." You are unlikely to pass the bar exam in any state if you deviate from this formula in any manner.
First, you simply define the issue is that you wish to analyze.
For example, an issue could be: Even though my puppy is adorable and everyone she meets wants to pet her, she is very nervous and protective, she barks like a vicious Doberman the moment you approach her, and might even bite someone one of these days. What is my liability as her owner if she does?
The second step is stating the rule of law that applies. In this example, it would be a recital of the state laws and/or city ordinances that apply to liability for dog bites.
The third step, analysis, is the most tedious, and involves a lengthy discussion of all similar case law. The lawyer does his or her best to either argue why the cases are relevant precedent which should be followed (my dog is just like the one in that case where the judge let the owner off because the bite was unforeseeable!), or are distinguishable based upon their facts and should be ignored (the dog in that other case was a trained-to-kill pit bull and my little puppy has never harmed anyone in the past).
The final step, the conclusion is always the same: "It depends." It depends, of course, on which side you are advocating for. (It also depends on whether you will later need to weasel your way out of the position you took.) This is why you almost never hear an attorney give an unqualified answer to anything.
Does the above process sound like fun to you? It is certainly useful if you need to pass a bar exam or write a legal brief, but in my experience, it is not a FUN way to approach life.
I much prefer my puppy's method of creating fun: she simply allows her own pure joy to bubble spontaneously to the surface until she cannot contain herself from running around, yelping, wiggling her bottom and making people smile.
This has been a rather long winded attempt to explain why this blog contains a rather loose collection of topics with no deadlines or strictly defined goals. (See What is this Blog About, Anyway?) The bottom line:
I am in transition. I am (to some extent) grieving the loss of a career. I am managing a disability. I do not know where this path is leading me or how long it will take to get there.
In the meantime, I really just want to have fun. I hope you will stay for the ride ...