Monday, July 28, 2003

I spent most of Saturday at the courthouse, engaged in a mock trial set up by my firm as a training exercise for young associates. The time and effort to prepare for that mock trial did not in any way alleviate our normal billing expectations, so it was just another d*mn thing that took me away from my family for a block of irreplacable time, and it was all I could do to avoid feeling bitter and resentful about it. I was particularly angry that I was going to have to give my Saturday away for this game of play-pretend, because free time is worth more than diamonds to me. Shannon knew all of this; once again, her disappointment at my absence was tempered by her realization that my own disappointment and frustration matched or exceeded her own.

When I got home from the mock trial, I told Shannon that I had done very well and that I had received many compliments about my performance, and that I felt that people in the firm would hear good reports. She expressed her congratulations, paused for a moment, and then mused "Just imagine if you were happy being as ambitious as you are." She then backpedaled a bit, for fear that I would understand the statement as an encouragement to spend more time at work. But I understood that it wasn't meant that way; it was an expression of the paradox at the center of my life.

I've been ruminating on that paradox ever since, and will be for quite a while, I suspect.

 9:48 AM

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