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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Milestones

Today marks my 45th blog entry. It has been quite a journey to this point and I feel, in many ways, that I am just getting started. I am starting on my second week at my new job. I have accepted the financial changes and brainstormed ways to supplement my income. I worked on a financial plan with my mom and while I lamented needing help from her at 31, I have accepted it. As soon as I did, goodness came flooding in. Last week, I cried despite rejoining the work force because I didn't think it was what I spent so much energy praying for. This week, I cried because I know that my new path is one that will exceed my highest expectations.

The transformation started with a conversation I had on Saturday. I was at a friend's birthday party when the person next to me asked how I knew the guest of honor. I said we used to work together. She responded with, "So you're a lawyer too?" I said yes and paused. Then, I tried on my new job for size. I said, "I don't really practice anymore. I work at an NPO now as an advocate for survivors of domestic violence." She paused and then flashed me a huge smile and even clapped her hands. "I think that's awesome. Good for you!!"

In all my years as a lawyer, I have never gotten a reaction like that. People would say, "That's nice." or "Do you like it?" If they were also lawyers, they sometimes asked, "What type of law?" and when I replied, they nodded and that topic of conversation kind of died. So, back to the dinner. After the "awesome" comment, the person across from me started talking about her work with abused children. She noted that the work was trying and emotional but that she was happy. She wished me the same as I settle into my job. I took that gift and reflected on it. Sure I could stand to make more money but am I happy with this new job? Yes. Milestone #1.

Monday at work, I talked to my supervisor about work we could do as outreach in the community. To give me some ideas of things we did in the past, she told me about a workshop they did to teach a form of therapy that people could do on their own. What form of therapy, you ask? WRITING!!! Yep! A writing workshop. There it was clear as day, a way to incorporate my passion for writing with my new job. I didn't see how that was going to work when I was chasing the actual writing job I talked about a few posts back. Milestone #2.

Last night, I met an attorney who talked to me about keeping my licence and things I could do to supplement my income and still give my heart to my work, while incorporating my passion for the law. Thanks to my supervisor, we are having breakfast on Friday. Milestone #3.

In just a few short days of work, I have been in a local high school helping teach students how to be effective allies to their friends who may be victims of domestic violence/sexual assault and providing them with resources if they are victims. I have been to a community activist meeting and met the executive board. I have attended seminars aimed at creating ways to free the world from the bonds of racism, sexism, and hate based violence. I have witnessed people help women in need of solutions to move on in life. It has been busy and at times overwhelming but I can honestly say (especially after talking to a few friends at my old firm) that I am happy that things happened the way they did. Milestone #4.

It's only up from here. It's not what I expected but I think it might be just what I needed. Some...ok, most things are way more important than money and happiness is chief among them. I have been fortunate enough to feed a baby elephant, ride on the back of its big brother, go on safari, see a sunset in Hawaii, Turks & Caicos and San Francisco. I had a great wedding and have an even better marriage (maybe I'm biased). Don't get me wrong. It hasn't been all roses. In my life, I have lived through the misery that the women and children I now work for are living. I have been depressed, afraid, angry and uncertain. I have been jobless and at times, pretty destitute. But with all of that, I am still standing. I survived. In the next chapter, I plan to thrive.

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