That is the only word I can use to describe the feeling I have right now, and have been having for the past couple of days. In fact, I don't know how to feel at all right now, and this post is probably going to reflect that!
I am almost done with the hardest, most intense, most challenging summer of my life: my last day of work is Tuesday, and I move back to my law school apartment on Wednesday. I've pushed my limits this summer so, so much, faced a lot of fears, and done things I honestly used to think were totally impossible for me to ever do. But now, I feel both very happy AND very sad about it being almost over.
The biggest part of me is so, so happy that this intensely hard summer is almost over, and that some rest and relaxation is coming my way soon. I am so happy that my crazy job, in a crazy work environment with out-of-control expectations, is two work days away from being 100% over. I am going to write about this more on Tuesday night--I have a whole lot more to say on that topic (trust me), but it's going to be more satisfying to write it when I am done done done with work. But I am so sad to be leaving those people at work that I have come to really love--(most) of the attorneys and the other law students who worked at the firm this summer. We've had a lot of fun. We've laughed so, so much. We've dealt with intense stress, crazy clients, and overwhelming case loads all summer, and we've dealt with it together, with a LOT of laughter in the process.
But another part of me is very glad to be saying goodbye, for now, to them. I don't mean that in a bad way at all, but while we do usually have fun together, my values are 110% different from the values of the people I work with. It's often very uncomfortable. In the past week or so, I've grown utterly weary of trying to fit in with people that are so completely different from me . . . yes, we have fun, but I truly don't have much in common with my coworkers. I'm so ready to be around my true, long-time, amazing, REAL friends again . . . friends that I can really share everything with, friends that share my faith, friends that talk about things other than drinking/ partying/ sex/ activities I'm not comfortable talking about all the time, etc. I'm ready to be around people who don't use the F-word in every sentence and take God's name in vain in every other sentence. My ears have gotten used to the basic equivalent of watching an R-rated movie on repeat all day every day, but my heart hasn't.
And I'm just going to say it--the attorneys practice law in some ways that I am not comfortable practicing law. Some of the ways that clients are treated and cases are handled are not ok with me, and if I may speak frankly, I don't want my name associated with it anymore. I don't really mean unethically, but just totally un-compassionately. They take on more clients than they can ever really handle anyway, so no one really gets the attention and care that they pay an arm and a leg for, and I am not ok with that business model. There. I said it. This is true of many firms, not just where I happen to work, but that's how I feel about it.
I've been the case manager for some clients this summer who have gotten very frustrated with some of these issues, and I've spoken to those clients on the phone and in person many times this summer, and while I make every effort to treat them right and to return every phone call and to give them as much attention as I possibly can, I can't really do it the way I think it needs to be done while at this firm because it's so chaotic and crazy. And, I don't want to be in practice in this city in a year when I graduate, which is probably going to happen, and have my name in any way be associated with these business practices, because word gets around and people remember how they are treated and pass the word on to their friends. (I don't want the clients I've worked with this summer to remember my name, assume I endorse everything at the firm, and then to pass around that "Lauren doesn't care about clients/ doesn't return calls/ doesn't do what she says she will do.") NOT ok. Because in law practice, a good reputation is solid gold, and I'm not willing to lose it before I even really get started.
And finally, this city feels SO much like home, and I truly do not want to leave. I left last weekend for a family reunion, and it was my first time to go out of town in 8 or 9 weeks, and when I came back, as soon as I saw that skyline in the distance, I knew I was HOME. When you've found a place where you can be home, you just know. You feel like your internal compass points to that place, like your inner North Star will always guide you there. You can be happy anywhere and everywhere else, but when you return . . . well, it feels like letting out the breath you didn't even realize you were holding. It feels like walking around on a Saturday morning in a well-worn pair of jeans . . . relaxed and comfortable. That's how I feel about here even though it's only been, like, 10 weeks. And so I'm super sad that it's my last weekend here. For the record, though, I absolutely love the city I live in where the law school is, and I've missed it a lot, so in that sense I'm very happy to go back.
And where could I even begin with the lessons I've learned about God, life, and myself this summer? Starting with this one: with God, all things are possible. I'll write more about that later, too. Enjoy your Saturday!