For the next several months, I’m not scheduled to be in a courtroom. I haven’t had a break from litigation that long for twenty years. To have my loyal minions handling matters will cost me in one sense–nobody should have to do that work for free–but I woke up today a lot more aware of the benefits of remaining out of court:
1) I sleep better, and what’s more basic than sleep? I sleep better for two reasons. First, the cases coming up on this week’s docket are not haunting me as the docket draws nearer, and second, I don’t have to pop up and leave the house on court mornings, irrespective of whether I got adequate sleep.
3) I use my treadmill desk more consistently. I’m appalled to report recent findings along the lines of: If you meet the recommended guidelines for physical activity, but spend the rest of your day planted on your backside, that activity generates very little benefit. Movement must be more frequent to be beneficial. In court, we often sit for several hours at a time. At home, between the tread desk, the tea pot, the animals, and the mechanical timer, I’m off my backside even on writing days.
4) I make faster progress on my writing projects, and the results feel more satisfying. When I can focus on drafting a novel in a couple months, the story stays with me, goes to bed with me, wakes up with me, and the scenes seem to flow more easily. When the process is interrupted for three or four days, the writing feels more like work, more like “that other job.”
5) I spend more time with friends. Where I live, lunch with a buddy often means driving for an hour each way, and if my day is consumed in the office, I don’t feel I can take that kind of time away from the writing–nor do I have the energy.
I could go on–I take better care of my house, I get outside more, I’m a better companion to my animals, I’m more likely to call my family for a phone visit, I have a better sense of humor, I do more reading… all good things.
The courtroom work is meaningful, and in one sense, lucrative. In another, it has a taken a toll I’m hoping to stop paying. I reach that conclusion without touching on the nature of the cases themselves, some of which will haunt me to my grave.
So the question this week is… How do you know when it’s time to give up a good thing? To say good-bye to the nice guy who should never have been more than a friend, to look for another job even though you like your co-workers well enough where you are? When do you know, even though you’re not exactly miserable, you can’t be happy where you are, and it’s time to move on?
To one commenter, I’ll send… A Wine Country gift basket called, “The Long Weekend.“