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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Just Living Life


While at the downtown courthouse where I was working on a trial, I ran into a woman, S.S., who I knew when I was seven years old. She is now a high powered, high profile attorney. I am just the paralegal.

(Ironically, M. mentioned to me that she recently called S.S. regarding a legal matter. I actually had no recollection that M. knew S.S. and still cannot recall how M. knows S.S. -- but my selective memory will probably become the subject of a future post.)

I saw S.S. walk into the court cafeteria and recognized her immediately even though I have not seen her for close to 40 years. She is an exquisite looking middle aged woman who looks younger than she is. She was wearing a beautiful overcoat over her expensive suit. Her hair was pulled back. Her features are well defined. She has a big smile. She was wearing big diamond stud earrings and shiny black patent leather high-heel shoes. I waited until I overheard her name mentioned, and then I introduced myself.

"Are you S.S.," I asked.

"Yes," she replied firmly, and not at all quizzically. Being a high powered, high profile attorney I assume she is accustomed to being recognized in public places.

"I am S.A.," I said.

She dropped the purse she was carrying. Her mouth opened in astonishment. She doubled over with surprise and disbelief, sort of swaying as she repeated, "No way. Get out of here. . ."

"You look just the same," she told me.

We chatted briefly and then returned to our respective colleagues.

A couple of days later, I googled her. I read about her career, her achievements. I saw that she I were at both at UCLA, English Department for our undergraduate work. I do not remember seeing her there at all, but imagine we were there at the same time (again, my selective memory which shall be the subject of a future post).

I felt sad because at this point in my life it is hard to imagine that I will have any meaningful career achievements. I have been a dilettante, trying too many things to become an expert at any of them. My interests have not been mere dabbles -- but my lack of fortitude prevented me from really excelling. It seems like every 10 years or so, I switched gears. In my 20's, I passionately pursued creative interests with deep dedication and focus. I was prolific -- writing, singing, dancing, painting. In my 30's, once I started having children, I studied and started practicing as a clinical intern (marriage and family therapy). Just prior to turning 40, financial burdens forced me to switch gears (I was not making any money as an intern), and I found myself working for my current employer where I learned to be a paralegal.

I am just living my life. Like so many others, I am just living my life.