Don’t Worry Be Happy

Triumphantly, I made my return to the office last week.  Yes, three-and-a-half weeks removed from brain surgery, I went in.  photo 1I was eager and motivated to do something – better yet, anything other than sit at home and channel surf.  I was well rested and feeling great and had recently received medical clearance from my doctors to return on a part-time basis for a couple of weeks.  But what would I feel like after a 20-hour work week when I had done literally nothing for the past four weeks?  Over time, the answer to this question became clear.

Initially, I was overcome by emotion but also very excited to see my coworkers and peers.  Making the rounds and saying hello to everyone, I felt like an exhibit – “where are your stitches?” and “what are you doing here?” were the common questions.  Perhaps this is my “new normal” but unlike others, I expected to be back that quickly.  My surgeon had predicted I would be out for 3-4 weeks at most and I know how my body recovers and heals.  So when I woke up after surgery with no unexpected side effects, I fully expected to be back to work in no time at all.  Of course though, in a matter of three-and-a-half weeks, over 600 emails had piled up and I needed to sort through them.

Per my doctor’s orders, I was to work no more than 4 hours per day, even though I think I could have done more if I wanted to.  Nonetheless though, I went in and picked up my job tasks right where they had left off before my leave of absence.  Two months before I left, I assumed a new position – Associate Administrator – Marketing and External Affairs.  I decided it was time to step away from my pursuit of the practice of law and instead refocus my efforts in a position to which I felt I could make a career.

I’ll be the first to admit – nobody in the office is more upset than I that I am not an attorney after working so hard for it and putting in the time – but, I came to the realization a while ago that right now, being an attorney is not in the cards for me and just simply not meant to be.  Sure, I was disappointed and frustrated.  I took out student loans equivalent to a second mortgage on law school and was in desperate need of a way in which to repay them.  Furthermore, I had devoted time and money into passing the bar exam three times.  Each time, it was the same result and same old adage – close, but no cigar.  I needed a new goal – something tangible which I knew I could achieve and excel in.  Alas, this opportunity presented itself and I jumped.  I understand the inherent risks in that I am now on a different path than my peers who graduated at or near the same time that I did.  I will watch them as they grow through the ranks of a law firm and make more money than I ever may.  However, at the end of the day, one word assured me of this decision – happiness.

When I think about how I got to this point in my life, I think back on a number of things, namely those who doubted my ability to pass the bar exam due to my cognitive impairments: the neuropsychological evaluator; my law school professors who admired my courage for carrying on; my surgeon’s own admission; my law school dean; my bar exam tutor.  Admittedly, they were all correct.  Yet, my family never once doubted any of my decisions as I moved forward in my life.  Rather, they continually support my daily decisions.  For this, I am forever grateful.

I can’t worry about my future and what successes I’ll find.  While I may not have reached my goal of becoming an attorney, I know success will come because I’ve survived the toughest obstacle of all.  The bar exam may have beaten me down, but my tumor showed me I have what it takes; tenacity, perseverance and the strength to carry on.  I must keep plugging away, fighting adversity and rising to the occasion.  It’s true when they tell you that life isn’t easy.  Take it from me – it’s not.  As the song lyrics go: “In every life we have some trouble.  When you worry you make it double.  Don’t worry, be happy. “

2 thoughts on “Don’t Worry Be Happy”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s