Mid-Year Update

Well I’m back with a quick update!  I know at least three people missed me 🙂

What Happened to My New Site?

When we got back from our trip, I was really motivated to hit the ground running and develop a new site.  I was going to use it to document my efforts to find a new path in life and hold myself accountable to taking concrete steps towards that path.  I even wrote a few posts (you can read them here for now…).  But soon I realized that being so methodical was actually counterproductive.

Why was it counterproductive? Well I was using the tools that made me a good Biglaw attorney drone to try to imagine a fulfilling life outside of Biglaw. It’s like asking an ex-con to use his prison-survival skills to start a charter fishing business in Mexico. I just needed to give myself the gift of time to allow my mind to roam free and liberate itself from the tight, narrow confines of Biglaw. I’m still kind of decompressing…

Have I Been Strong?

The journey thus far has been a little difficult. My former firm reached out to me after we got back and gently probed to see if I’d want to return (since I had left that door open).  At that time, I was a little worried because we wouldn’t be FIRE if we stayed in the area, had kid(s), and had to buy a $2M apartment or pay $4,500 a month in rent. So we explored a role where I could jump on and off projects without being full-time or even part-time. I thought such an arrangement would be a good way to ramp down from full-time practice into FIRE. But soon thereafter, I met with a former co-worker who looked borderline suicidal with dark bags under his eyes and was just muttering crazy things due to sleep deprivation. So there was this unbridgeable gap between this “perfect” position I built up in my mind and the reality I knew in my heart, creating a bit of inner turmoil. My subconscious made this clear to me when I woke up one night in a cold sweat. The dream: I got a call from the firm asking if I could start on Monday. I knew I could not go back.

So What Have I Been Doing?

Initially, I was worried I’d just watch TV and play video games to pass the time, but amazingly I didn’t (with the exception of a short-lived obsession with Civilization Revolution on the Xbox 360).  Actually I watch almost no TV at all.

I’ve been trying to let my inner self guide what I want to do, while creating opportunities for trying new things. So that means I’ve been following my hobbies and interests. I’ve been playing a ton of golf, including going on a week-long golf trip, and playing and practicing several times a week. I’ve picked up piano again, but my attention span is short and it’s hard to practice more than 3 or 4 times a week and for more than an hour each time. I’ve also tried to sustain my interest in photography that I developed during our trip, but it’s hard for me to decide where and when to go shoot, especially if I can play golf instead. We did go on an outing this week to test out my new telephoto zoom lens, which was a lot of fun.

What’s to Come?

So pursing hobbies is a short-term thing for now. But I think it’s also giving me the ability to open up my mind and follow my instincts. Letting myself follow my own instincts rather than the directive of a partner, client, or even parent (from when I was younger) is a big step for me. Longer term, I need to create more opportunities to discover new things, which is as simple as being open to taking a class or attending an event. There may also be some legal work coming my way based on discussions with two former clients who reached out to me. But at this point, that’s more of a footnote.

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7 thoughts on “Mid-Year Update

  1. Thank you for the update! I’ve read that it takes about 6 months to recover once you retire, but I have a feeling that it can take much longer for Type A, career-driven people. Do you think your health has improved since you stopped working? And do you worry about money? I think that it will be difficult for me psychologically to go from adding money to my stash every 2 weeks to drawing it down instead.

    • Mentally and emotionally I feel much healthier. I get pretty good sleep and stress levels are low (unless I dream about work). Physically, things are just OK. I’m not super motivated these days so I’m not really hitting the gym that hard.

      We’ve only drawn down cash reserves so far. My wife is working part time for the same employer for a few more months. So I haven’t had to sell any assets yet to finance our lifestyle. I have turned off automatic reinvestment of dividends though.

      I have gotten pretty lax about controlling spending too. Maybe I’ll write about all these changes in a future post.

    • Hi Jenn! Thanks for thinking of me — I’m still around. Yeah I saw that NYT article too and so many things resonated with me, including the part about how the combative aspect of litigation was at odds with his personality. I’m pretty glad I got out of the law firm world. Seems like another life now!

      Our spending has been higher than we’d like by 10-20% on average. We moved back to a HCOL area and are paying a bit more in rent and expenses in other areas don’t really seem to be that well controlled either (i.e., are higher than before we went on our trip). We have done some travel in the past few months so that is likely the culprit. We are thinking about relocating to a lower COL area at the end of the year.

  2. Hi, Anonlawyer. I love your blog. I am writing because I would like to meet you. Our backgrounds are similar, at least insofar as work and golf are concerned. I spent 11 years in BigLaw before opening my own small firm. Golf is my main hobby and I try to play twice per week. My current handicap is 7.1. I gather that you are in the Bay Area. I have relatives in San Jose and usually travel there at least once per year. I would love to treat you to dinner or golf and compare notes some time over the next year. At a minimum, my 25th law school reunion at Stanford is next year and I plan to go (dates not yet set). What do you say?

    Oscar L. De la Rosa

    ________________________________

  3. l should add that my fraternity brother is a member at Olympic and could probably get us on there if that interests you. Let me know.

    Oscar

    ________________________________

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