It’s Orthodox holy week, which caused me to think about where I was and what I was doing this time last year and how much has changed in the last 12 months.
This time last year, I was in Bali. Having dinners and drinks at places like Sardine, Motel Mexicola and the Rock Bar (all of which, I highly recommend if you happen to be visiting the balmy island). Bali was a much needed break last year. I was exhausted – work had been super busy. There was an injunction which took up my March long weekend and many weeknights thereafter and we were running against a deadline to have witness statements completed on another matter. Long nights, dinners at work (no more Matsuri!), weekend coffees at my desk. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy my job, but when there’s a tight deadline or something urgent crops up, it can be full on. Anyway, four days in Bali was a very welcome break and much needed before I flew home only to fly out again…
After being back at work for two days, it was off to Brisbane for the weekend for work. I was lucky enough to take that trip with one of the loveliest lawyers in our team, so while the weekend was enjoyable and we had two good days of work, it did mean that I missed Orthodox Easter at home with my family. One of just the many things work has caused me to miss over the years.
You see, being a lawyer is an exceptionally selfish job. Because, the job generally will always come first. Clients are demanding, and rightly so. They hand their problems over to us and look to us to help find a way forward and bring issues and problems to a resolution. Time is money and our time can be expensive. I always wanted to do great work and, for the the majority of my career, I have been very fortunate to work on interesting, stimulating and challenging projects and disputes. All of that though meant that I prioritised work ahead of everything else (family, friends, health etc) for years. Why? Well, firstly, because clients deserve great service. But also because of the elusive carrot that is dangled in front of you – promotion. First, promotion to senior associate. Next, partnership. It all sounds a bit like the Rhianna song, Work.
And work I did. But 12 months on, I am in an entirely different place. And, while I am actually looking forward to resuming my working life (once my brain switches back on – post ‘chemo brain’, which incidentally, is a thing), if this 12 months has taught me something it is that while I have always tried to ensure those more junior to me have some semblance of work life balance, I didn’t really ever have it. I either lived my life working or on holiday. In the last three months, however, the scales have been tipped firmly in favour of the ‘life’ part of work life balance. And what I have found is that balance is not to be scoffed at. There really is something to be said for having time to exercise, shop, get to the doctor, cook well (not throw a few bits together), see friends and most importantly, relax. All things I used to cram in to whatever spare time I had.
I think the realisation for me is that it is going to be extremely important to me to have some better balance when things go back to ‘normal’. I don’t yet know how I’m going to navigate the return to to work or anything else post treatment, but what I do know is that I will be making time for life and trying to stress less. I want to make time for my family and friends and importantly, for myself. Sometimes when the universe smacks you over the head, you just have to listen. You know?
To all my Orthodox readers, may you have a blessed Easter. Kali anastasi.