Life in the Fast Lane

Last week, I reported back for work after a paternity-vacation leave of almost a month. Paternity leave is only for 7 working days and the extended vacation was necessary to address my work burnout. Although the time off did not allow me to completely rest (our “little monster” had cholic episodes at night), it allowed me to reflect on things.

Life in a law firm. For some, this is an oxymoron, which is a bit exaggerated because there’s life in a law firm – except that the high level of stress on a daily basis makes it extra difficult. This is equally true for a new associate at the bottom of the pecking order or a senior lawyer holding more sensitive responsibilities. In fact, almost all of the dead lawyers I know succumbed to hypertension and other heart-related diseases. Yet, there’s little reason to complain. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. I got out of the kitchen around three years ago, only to go back in another kitchen. I realized I love my work, which is precisely what I’m scared of.

Second chance and redemption. No one is perfect; we are bound to make mistakes. Stop. Grieve. Move on.

You can’t please everyone. If you try to accept all work assignments, you spread yourself too thin. The enemy of one’s enemy is a friend; you’ll end up with someone not liking you simply because you’re a friend of his enemy. I tried so hard to please everyone. It’s impossible.

Mid-life crisis. People don’t like to use this phrase, but it’s a normal phase in life. It’s a period of forced re-examination of goals (and life in genera)l, brought about by the inevitable clash of cynicism and ideals. After surgery three years ago, I said life is so short and too precious to waste slaving at work. Surprisingly, I am still doing it. This is among the conflicts in values and priorities, the usual reaction of which is to create compartments and draw neat lines for order’s sake. Maybe there are no borders after all. Life is really one big gray area.


  1. Our lives are frittered away by detail. Probably because there are times when we don’t have the awareness or the energy to perform self-evaluation as we wade our way through the fast lane. This blog poignantly reminds me of my own life and my stressful struggles between career and family. But as the writer says, stop, grieve, and most importantly, move on. Life is too short to wallow on problems and upsetting indecisions. Perhaps we need to live life one day at a time. As everyone says, enjoy life. Relax. Go to the countryside. Forget about everything but yourself.

  2. Beautifully said, thank you. It’s easy to give in to the urge of forgetting about everything but yourself. However, as more responsibilities are added in one’s journey, thinking only of one’s self becomes extremely difficult. Good luck!

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