I hope I didn't worry you all with my previous post-- Old Lady. I knew when I decided to change careers after eleven years in education that I'd be behind the curve. Someone even asked me about how that would make me feel in an interview once. Really, though, how can you know? I don't think it's the age thing so much as being at a different place in life. And I don't just mean that I have kids and the only other female first year associate with children (whom I know of) is from my home office. (Come to think of it, though, that makes me pretty lucky.) What I do mean is that we're at completely different stages of life.
By now I'm mostly used to being with people who are proven, responsible adults. That may mean children. But it could just mean holding down a job. Not partying every single night. And yes, you can do both-- hold down a job conscientiously and still party every night. So I don't know what my problem is. I could just sense the lack of life experience in the room. And that brings me back to age.
There are definite advantages of being older. I recognize the benefits of working for a firm like ours, where they've opted to take the long view of an attorney's lifetime in the profession and really invest in training us. Unless you've worked in places where you have to root around for your own paper and writing utensils, where you ask for things like stickers, scissors, and markers for Christmas from your family and friends, and where everyone you know drives a car that's at least 10 years old, it's hard to understand what I mean. I guess it's not fair to make that generalization. I mean, teachers may have to scavenger for supplies, but I don't think most people do. Still, my point is that sometimes you don't know how good you have it unless you have something else to compare it to. Not in a grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side-of-the-fence comparison, but in a gosh-this-is-a-nice-gig-and-I-know-because-I've-been-around-the-block way. And I haven't even been around a very big block-- I'm. not. that. old. Plus, I'm not too proud. I expect my assistant to train me. I ask her to critique my work. I ask her a million dumb questions. I'm not too full of myself to forget to thank her. And I'm not too insecure to ask for help when I need it. Which is kind of frequently.
And the thing is I know I'm way goofier and sillier and have way more laughter in my life than probably a lot of other first-year associates. Because I'm a mom. Sure, it may be harder for me than for others to take three days off and head to New York-- even for fun--because I have something tethering me to my home. But I can assure you I dance just as much (maybe more), I make funny faces, I laugh openly at myself and my children. I read more books for pleasure, even if many of them only average five words in length. I am more aware of the larger world environment and the way we're leaving things behind because of my kids. Sure, I worry more. And I drink way less-- though I think that getting punch-drunk with the giddiness of the antics of my children is way more fun that stumbling around and forgetting what happened the next day.
Yeah. They're a young crop, the other first year associates. Younger and probably smarter than me. And I bet I can learn a lot from them-- and I'm open to that. But I wouldn't do it over. I wouldn't want to take back the last 10 years as a teacher and instructional designer. They may be young, but I'm young at heart.