The time has come once again to hit the road. But before I get to the details of this new adventure, let me set the stage (there are pictures after the jump, I promise):
Another semester of law school is over and, once again, I find myself in a different place than when it began. While the life of a law student is often compared unfavorably to a war, a marathon, or any number of seemingly impossible unpleasant tasks, I see it differently. Call me naive or oversentimental, but it often feels to me like a love story. So if last fall was “boy meets girl,” this spring had its roots firmly planted in “boy loses girl.”
This spring, the course material was less clear, the professors less helpful, the coordination between classes less extant. On top of that, some of my most important friendships from the fall showed signs of fracturing. Terrified of losing something that had come to mean so much to me, I poured an inordinate amount of effort into preserving those relationships at all costs. This struggle added a tremendous amount of stress to an already-difficult semester. I developed some new coping mechanisms, which sometimes helped, but which sometimes just made things worse.
But I remain hopeful. As the semester wound down, the weight of “boy loses girl” seemed to lift. Like President Bill Pullman standing amidst the rubble of the U.S. Capitol, I felt that things were finally emerging from the darkness and that I would be able to rebuild.
How’s that for setting a stage?
Now, onto the new adventure: In addition to being in a different place for all those reasons, I’m also literally in a different cartographic place. At this hour, I’m in Ithaca, NY, as my sister’s college graduation weekend winds down. Aside from the normal graduation stuff, there were fireworks last night:
From here I leave in the morning and head west to what’s becoming a familiar base camp in Terre Haute, IN. There, my friend Lindsay and I will make our final preparations before heading off for Chicago, St. Louis, Memphis (via Arkansas!), and Indianapolis before returning to the ominously-named Vigo County. Along the way, there will be landmarks (ranging truly from the sublime to the ridiculous), a pair of baseball games, and a porcine plethora as we sample BBQ staples from every region we visit. By the time I return home to Boston I’ll have visited 13 states and logged over 3,000 miles. If all goes according to plan, I’ll arrive back at home a week from today, on Memorial Day, with just enough time to take a nap before beginning the summer quarter of classes as a 2L the next day. Here's the map:
My goal this week is really just to have a break. While I’ve grown to love my city, my school, and my friends there, and as difficult as being away from them always is, I think the only way I can make those relationships last and thrive over the next two years will be to take this week to relax and create some perspective, so that if things start to go south again next year I’ll be able to see the forest for the trees and keep myself from making it worse. I’ve already done quite a bit of reflection on this year and I’m sure there will be more to come (although perhaps not here). I hope this week away from it all will help me to find a more healthy balance of reflection and presence.
Oh, and I’ll do my best not to throw in too many legal terms, although the list of vocabulary words that I can’t hear without thinking of law has ballooned, and now includes offenders like “offender,” “compelling,” “reckless,” “willfully blind,” “unconscionable,” “foreseeable,” and “offer.” But as long as I don’t start talking about performance and completion, things will be on the right track. As long as that track isn’t on Long Island and there are no old-timey Italians holding explosives…