19 June 2008

Regrets and then some

The thing about hanging out with 20 year-olds is that it all-too-ofen makes me pause and reflect on what I was doing at 20...and why I wasn't galavanting around Chile like these little chiquillas.

I am the oldest person in our little Adelante group by 3 years, and most of the time it doesn't bother me.  I adore the girls I've met here, and we get along just dandy (I'm trying not to decide if that means they are over-mature or I'm under-mature...).  However, certain conversations have caused me to regret my own choices I made at 20.  

I did not:
--study abroad
--travel abroad during the summer
--go on elaborate spring breaks
--spend a semester at another university

Looking back, I really regret not doing these things.  There was always some excuse:  A boyfriend, my family, the need to take a certain class, lack of money etc.  But the real reason I didn't do any of these thing is pure, blatant FEAR.  I was scared to death to push myself outside of my own comfort zone.  Going on trips with my family was great, but the thought of going abroad on my own--completely solo--terrified me.  And sure, money was a legitimate excuse, but not one that I couldn't have remedied.  I could have made it work, but the fear overpowered my desire to try. 

Now, I feel that I've missed my chance.  It's my last truly "free" summer.  When I return to Louisville in August, I'll have to hunker down for my final year of law school, only to turn around and hunker down for the bar exam.  And then...work begins.  For the rest.of.my.life.  The End. 

I hate that I feel this way.  The sweet little 20-something girls tell me that it's not too late, etc.  I would have said the same thing at their age, before I was saddled with school loans and an advanced degree that is trapping me into a lifestyle I don't think I want.  I've always wanted to join the Peace Corps, but if I do that after law school, I'll basically be ruining my legal career.  The same can be said for practicing law in another country.  I don't know many firms that would say, "Sure, come on board with us!  You've never really practiced law and spent the last two years living in the Ecuadorian swamp, but you'll still be a fabulous lawyer!"  How it wish it were so.  Unfortunately, the legal community is unforgiving and unimpressed with a mid-20's life crisis.  

And so I guess I'll just have to live with the choices I've made.  I pride myself on being optimistic, and I don't like to write Debby-downer posts on this blog...but I'm feeling pretty angry at myself lately.  Yes, I know, I can always travel abroad.  But it's not the same as living somewhere different.  My hateful lawyer-job will probably only give me 10 paid vacay days, and a week in Peru is not going to give me the same satisfaction as living there for several months.  And so, ladies and gents, I've trapped myself yet again.  Here's your bed, Kate, lie down it in.  You can't go back.  

I guess the old song is true:  I don't regret the things I've done, only the things I didn't. 

5 comments:

LucieLu said...

The saddest thing in the world would be to see such an outside-the-box person as yourself get stuck in the box of merely working at a law firm. Those babies are right my dear, the life you think you missed is out there, you just have to figure out how to get it.

legaleagle2009 said...

Oh Katie, I hate to hear you say that! It sounds to me that you won't be happy until you have the life you are wishing for...so make it happen! I am sure there are many opportunities out there for you to achieve your goals...and no one said you MUST practice law with your degree...if you want it bad enough you will figure out a way to make it happen...in the mean time...enjoy the time you are away!! Good luck hon!

Christopher said...

I say this with love, my darling: I am 10 years older than any of the chickies I hang with in law school, and it is okay, so suck it up! Never have any regrets and do what you believe will make you happy. I am living proof that it isn't too late.

Miss you like crazy.

claire said...

if i can move to lebanon (something i NEVER thought i would do - move out of louisville, and to a smaller city instead of a bigger one!) for love, you can graduate from law school and get a job you love (whether it is law-related or not) in a place you love :). it's funny how we are both taking risks in our lives right now, but in very different ways!

MISS YOU. thanks for the concern for buster. this (and many many more reasons) is why i love you.

(Ralph) Ashby Barnes said...

My study abroad experience was Operation Desert Storm and I didn't even travel to Europe until I was almost 30 (visiting my brother who was studying abroad - for his 3rd time) and I got the same "I missed out" feeling when I moved to Switzerland. I think everyone tries to live their life without regrets but since we are human, we'll probably regret not doing something.

There are plenty of ways to get experiences outside of the U.S. and you might even be able to incorporate your law studies/education, you just have to look for them out there. I knew a number of people who were living around the world who had law degrees and were doing something other than law.