2018 is quickly coming to a close. As with every year, 2018 was filled with highs and lows, both personally and professionally. I like to take a look back periodically to make sure I’m learning what I can from the past and to make sure I am acknowledging all that I have to be grateful for. Here are a few highlights that come to mind:
- I turned 50 this year. To celebrate, I took a girls’ trip with friends from college who also turned 50 this year. All four of us have jobs, families and other responsibilities that make getting away for 10 days (without kids – did I say that part) difficult. I completely unplugged from my responsibilities and focused on me. I know not everyone can afford this luxury, both from a monetary and a time perspective. I hope, however, that most of us can get the support we need for a bit of time to do something rejuvenating, to show some appreciation for ourselves. I did, and I was rewarded foremost with joy. There were other meaningful benefits that I’d be happy to share with you. Ask me when you see me at the MCB Holiday party on December 6.
- I’m getting asked to speak more and write more. I take the responsibility seriously and hope to express opinions that hold up over time. My next speaking gig is tentatively set for the end of January at an MCB CLE called “Powerful Women of the Law Part 2.” Amanie Isaac, vice-chair of the CLE Committee, came up with the title and with the panelists, including Sara Lincoln, Greer Mendelow, Anne Tompkins, Claire Rauscher and Gena Morris. I’m happy to be included. I hope my comments will hold up over time, but one never knows. I remember speaking on a panel at my law school, UNC, a few years after I graduated. I was working as an Assistant United States Attorney, and a student asked me something like whether I felt bad about being “the man” – putting people in jail. My response was terse, something like do the crime, pay the time. Ugh, was that me? I don’t fully disavow the sentiment, but I know now that life can be very complicated, many things aren’t as simple and straight forward as they seem, and even questions I don’t like deserve a thoughtful response. I will keep that in mind as I offer my comments to what I expect will be an audience of young women hoping to get some thought or advice that they can use as they navigate their legal careers. This is fair warning that I will try not to, but could, say something stupid.
- Our Bar is civil. This is a highlight. In a time when political civility is at its lowest, I’m very happy about this one thing that lots of lawyers get right. I have worked with and against many MCB lawyers this year as a lawyer for Duke Energy. Those opposing us have zealously represented their clients, but they have been professional and civil, even nice. If there are any among us who need a refresher on professionalism, which includes civility, check the MCB website for a CLE webcast, replay or upcoming course.
- My family is well and they love me. To show my appreciation, I bought matching Christmas Eve pajamas for all of us.
I hope you find lots to be grateful for in 2018.