Or Secretary of State or Speaker of the House.
There was a time when I harbored grand political aspirations, but that was a long time ago, when cable news was still new and still news. My life has taken a very different path since then. I don’t usually spend much time looking back, but last weekend I had an opportunity to look way back during my 10-year law school reunion in Washington, D.C.
I can still remember my excitement and nervousness of moving to a city where I knew no one, exploring it’s neighborhoods and walking it’s streets, working on Capitol Hill, spotting well-known politicians IRL, and living in a shit hole basement apartment where my room flooded whenever it rained. (That and my roommate’s pet prairie dog are a story for another time…)
Before law school, with my boss Congressman Burton and my sister in 2000 (not ’94!).
Effectively I grew up in D.C. during my first few years far from home after college, and I remember the first few days of law school vividly.
They say that traumatic events cement our memories of them, etching the details into our minds for years to come, and the first few days of law school are a little traumatic no matter who you are, even if you don’t fully appreciate it at the time.
I’ll never forget the first person who was called on to recite the facts of a case and then get grilled on it’s implications in our first class of law school. I’ll never forget how thankful I was that it wasn’t me, and I’ll never forget the facts of that case either, even if the name eludes me now.
That’s the funny part… It’s easy to think you remember it all, when actually there are gaps, massive gaps in your memory. Getting together with friends I hadn’t seen in years and reminiscing about old times showed me some of those gaps and reminded me of how different I was and how different my life was back then.
Looking back, I’m a little sad for that girl. I remember how much I struggled to find a path, a profession. I remember all the angst and how quick I was to judge. I sought answers, clear answers, but contrary to popular belief, law school doesn’t teach answers.
Those you have to figure out for yourself.
With friends at our law school graduation, 2004.
“We cannot change the past, but we can change our attitude toward it. Uproot guilt and plant forgiveness. Tear out arrogance and seed humility. Exchange love for hate – thereby, making the present comfortable and the future promising.”
– Maya Angelou
There is a certain sadness in the self-knowledge that comes from reminiscing and looking back — admitting that you will never attain the grand aspirations you once had — but there’s also freedom and strength in acknowledging who you really are, where you’re most at home, and that where you’re headed in the future holds as much promise as where you’ve been.
In my opinion, reminiscing and self-knowledge are best accompanied by ice cream, baked goods, and coffee!
P.S. – It may seem like things have been quiet over here lately… (I’m actually not going to argue with you on that one!) But I have been working behind the scenes on a fun update to my Bay Area Bucket List in honor of my 2nd anniversary of living in San Francisco. More fun soon.
Hat tip to Kathy for inspiring my post title!