Court’s Adjourned

sleeping kittenFor 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.

2) I eat better. I have the energy to prepare hot food when I’m not spending as much yoga cattime in the office, and I need the break in the kitchen from sitting at the computer for long stretches.

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.”

headboop5) 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.

Long weekendSo 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.

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81 comments on “Court’s Adjourned

  1. 1
    Vanettz says:

    Oh my Grace they are hard questions!!! I think life actually tells your body when it’s time to move on, because we don’t always listen to our hearts or heads. Seems to me when these decisions have arrived in my life, it takes something in my life to make me make that “decision ” because sometimes my heart don’t want to. I believe God is the one who shows me that life changing event move. Have a great weekend and enjoy your time away from the court room !!! ~ always a fan

    • 1.1

      The body wins, V, you’re right, and sometimes, the back seems to be the one body part we listen to when headaches, eyestrain, carpal tunnel, foot trouble, get short shrift. The part of us we can’t see can shut us down the fastest.

  2. 2
    Sharon F says:

    Instinct, and just knowing in my heart that things aren’t going the way I think they should. I was in a relationship years ago, that I knew deep in my heart wasn’t right and, even though we got as far as an engagement, I finally had to just say no, it isn’t going to work. I’ve also had that happen to me in a couple jobs I have had. I started out loving the job and the people I worked with, but as time went by, things changed, new people came on board that I found stressful to work with and I lost the joy of going to work every day. Fortunately, for me, I was able to find another job right away and moved on. Being in an uncomfortable or stressful position really takes a toll on a person and life is too short to just give in and let it go on and on. I’d rather take the bull by the horn and put myself in control of my life.

    • 2.1

      Part of the difficulty, Sharon, is that court is supposed to be hard. Nobody that I know of finds it an entirely pleasant experience, though it’s meaningful. But how much of my legal career has been, “I’m doing this because I’m good at it, and I can put up with a lot of misery,” and how much of it was me being where I was supposed to be?

      I don’t know. I do know I’m slow to give up, and that hasn’t always been smart of me.

  3. 3
    Nancy Byrne says:

    I think you’ve already made some decisions. Now, you might be looking for some clarity and validation. You have to ask yourself, when is enough…enough? Time is not retrievable, and we all have an unknown fixed amount. Do you wish to arrive at the end of yours asking yourself if you spent yours doing what you wish you had? I can’t speak to your success and effectiveness as an attorney, but as a writer, you move me deeply with your characters and your insights into the human condition. I just finished reading The MacGregor’s Lady. Asher and “Boston” discover what is most important to them. Only you can discern what is most important for you. I send my heartfelt thoughts and prayers for your discoveries about you, and the selfish part of me hopes that it will include many, many more wonderful stories. Love & virtual hugs!

    • 3.1

      Nancy, thank you for your kindness. I’m aware that as long as I’m barreling along, focused on the next docket and the next, I’m keeping the noise level so high I couldn’t hear myself admitting I’ve had enough even if that were true.
      So you’re right: I’m taking information gathering steps, at least, by going on hiatus.

  4. 4
    Christina Esdon says:

    I’m having one of those life changing times as well. I’m in the process of giving up a comfortable life and potentially moving across the country to live my dream.
    You’d think it would be a “no-brainer”, but some days I wonder what the heck I am doing.
    But I know in my heart that it’s what I’ve meant to do. When I think about *not* moving to live my dream, my heart sinks and I get upset. So that’s how I know it’s time to move on. It will be hard to let go, but even harder to stay.

    • 4.1

      Keep us posted, Christina. I’m forever indebted to my dad for pointing that when I didn’t know which way to turn, I at least had clear leanings about where I did not want to turn. You’ve backed yourself into a forward direction, and that counts as progress.

  5. 5
    Kim Wyant says:

    I’ve had those moments and recall debating with myself endlessly because the last job I left paid well, had great benefits and was a job I had never imagined I would be so successful at. And yet, it made me feel empty inside. I think that’s the key: when your soul is aching for something more and your brain finally realizes the benefits of leaving whatever it is behind far outweigh the negatives of moving on, then it’s time to take that leap.

    • 5.1

      When I ask other authors who’ve quit the day job if they have regrets, invariably, they’re response is, “Why, yes, I do. I regret not doing this sooner.”

      I think about that a LOT.

  6. 6
    Jennifer says:

    When thoughts of the person or situation in question create frustration and anger in me, and I end up venting to friends… When I begin to question myself for being in the situation (am I crazy???)… When the stress takes its toll on my body, creating health problems… When the alternative becomes something I dream about more often with greater clarity and pleasure… It’s time to get out, then.

    Unfortunately, as I’ve thought through this, I realize I’m well into the first two “steps” in a particular situation in my life and trying to consider my options before I get out. Weighing the pros and cons, the gains and the losses… haven’t decided yet, but it’s looking more and more like I need to get out. Sigh.

    • 6.1

      Er, um–you wanna do next week’s post?

      When I’ve met this week’s deadlines (I have two), I’m going to sit down and expand on my list above. All the pro’s and con’s, as best I can project them. My agent has suggested that I’m a person who can produce more if I have more time to write (not all authors can).

      If that’s true, and I don’t lose my readership, then I’m not even looking at taking a pay cut if I leave the courtroom…. kinda shifts the decision into a when not an if, for me.

      As for you… good decisions are based on good information. You’ll know when and how.

  7. 7
    Amy Hageman says:

    Best of luck with your decision.
    I don’t know how to make that kind of decision. All of my transitions so far have pretty much been scheduled for me – end of high school, end of college, one Navy duty station to another – or I’ve had to make them out of deep necessity. It was obvious to me that leaving the Navy was the right thing to do as a single mother to a three year old; it was obvious that the grad school program I was in was not working when I became deeply depressed.
    Right now, I’m in a job I love, but I know that at some future point I will probably have to make a change. I’m not sure how that will happen, and how I will know the time is right. My current checkpoint is related to my parenting timeline. My daughter graduates from high school in a little over two years. That first year when she’s at college will give me some important data about my job and life satisfaction.

    • 7.1

      Amy, you said a mouthful. My daughter moved out when she was seventeen (with my support), and ye gods, the entire house felt more peaceful. I worried about her, I still worry about her nearly ten years later, but I got my life back.

      Single parenting is a loose term. My daughter went 20 years without seeing her father (his choice, despite her overtures and mine), so for me, it was 24-7-365 and I suspect for you it’s nearly as relentless.

      In some ways, the past ten years have been my happiest, and I hope as you transition from hands on parent, to remote support parent, your joy also knows no bounds.

  8. 8
    Cindy Perra says:

    We the relationship, friendship, job, etc. stagnates with no hope of ever advancing.

    • 8.1

      Good point, Cindy. When I’m having the same arguments, over the same frustrations, hearing the same promises, and knowing those won’t be kept either. Might be a point we reach in parenting, too.

  9. 9
    Ev Bedard says:

    I used to volunteer at our local library’s used book shop & then I was hired to be a PT admin ass’t to handle volunteer scheduling & do financial work. I was paid for a set number of hours but found I was working at least twice as many (for the same weekly pay)–plus was getting numerous calls from those who couldn’t work their scheduled shifts, etc. Finally, my job was combined with another & the Ass’t Manager position sounded good (but I knew it, too, would be a set number of hours but still require add’l hours to complete the necessary work). I left & felt so free afterwards. I have not gone back as a regular volunteer either. I work on occasion for special sales. I found other causes where I felt my talent was better used (tho’ some are still volunteer ones)–I miss the extra pay but there isn’t a price that can be put on “Peace of Mind”….

    • 9.1

      Ev, I had the same experience managing horse shows. I was OK with the competitors having high expectations of me, and the licensing organizations, and the judges, and the… but I’d gotten into it for the horses.

      My own staff started treating me poorly, and when the facility that made a LOT more money off the shows than I did started demanding more and more, I figured it was somebody else’s time to take a turn in that barrel. Never looked back, and what do you know, the show schedule never felt a thing when I left either.

      I do worry about the ponies, though.

  10. 10
    Diane Sallans says:

    I think you know what the right thing for you to do is, but being of a logical and fair mind you feel compelled to examine every angle. The more difficult the change is, the more it impacts others that you don’t want to disappoint, the more excuses you can find to not make that change, that in your gut you know you really want to make. Quite often others don’t have the same fears or apprehension about the change that you do. So I say, consider the possible ramifications, then go with your gut.

    • 10.1

      Excellent point, Diane, and there’s the problem of ego and inertia too. I’ve been doing child welfare law longer than anybody else in my little jurisdiction. MUCH longer than the judges hearing the cases or opposing counsel. I’m not the expert, but I’m the one-eyed in the land of the blind sometimes. It’s seductive, to have an area of competence that’s confirmed week after week, compared to the sometimes painful subjectivity of commercial fiction.

      You’re right though–we can all be succeeded, even if we can’t be precisely replaced.

  11. 11
    Gail Nichols says:

    I think it is time to move on when you feel in your heart you have done all you can.

    • 11.1

      Then I will chained to this oar for a while longer, Gail, because I still feel like I make a difference every time I walk into that courtroom–for better or for worse.

  12. 12
    Sabrina says:

    I guess I let the universe tell me. And I was typing one thing I came to a sudden realization about each time I’ve left a school system.

    I started teaching in Sumner County. I lived and taught there for a year. Then I moved to Wilson County (where I wanted to teach) and taught in Sumner for a year; the next year I got the job in Wilson.

    Next, when I was ready to move home, I found myself living with my grandmother (and I am now a firm believer that no matter how much you love your grandmother, you can’t live with her). I lived in her and commuted to Wilson County for a year before I landed in my current school.

    Looks like I pushed a little bit and the universe gave into what I wanted (or God made me line myself up with the dominoes so they could fall just right).

    Grace, enjoy your early “summer.” It’s amazing how different you feel when the stress of other people and their children is gone. Even if it’s only for a couple of months.

    • 12.1

      I agree, Sabrina. You have to send the universe signals along the lines of, “I’m serious about this. It IS what I want.” Then doors do open. Whereas if you cry in your beer and wish and hope, then it’s a long wait between visits from the fairy godmother.

  13. 13
    Brenda says:

    Two years ago I left a job I truly did enjoy, for a variety of reasons, but the biggest reason is that I realized that it is a mistaken thought that as your kids advance up through school, they need you less. The opposite is true. My son is a sophomore in High School and I truly believe he needs our attention more than ever. To put it into proper perspective: I am 52, have raised three children and worked many many years outside the home, full time, and part time (while raising my family.) My husband is talking retirement, we have one graduating college this year, one finishing her freshman year in college this year, and one approaching college in two more years. I just had this instinctive thought that the time was right, and it was. I do some volunteering, I rag my son about homework, I have spent time on some projects that were “someday…” projects, and I feel like all is well and blessed. Actually, for the first time, maybe ever, in my life I feel like I am in total control. It is lovely.

    • 13.1

      My fifties have turned out to be happiest decade so far. I’m in reasonable health, I have some wisdom, I have some earning capability. What’s not to love?

      I’ve also come through some really scary knotholes, and I don’t spook as easily. (Knock wood.) Now I want to there for my kid when she needs me, but mostly, I’m enjoying the peace and quiet.

  14. 14
    Susan G says:

    It’s been my experience that your heart tells you when it’s time to move forward.

    It sounds like you may have made your descision and need some time to think it through.
    Change is scary….. But often well worth it.
    You have made a significant difference in the lives of many people through your work in the courtroom.
    Maybe it’s time to try something different? Work part time? Mentor others in your field? Take time for Grace?

    Take some time for yourself and the rest will sort itself out.

    Knowing you need to make a change is the first step. I make a list of pros and cons to help me sort through the decision making progress. Then, I make a list to plan how to make it happen!

    Finished Lady Jenny’s story and Morgan and Archer’s novella this week.
    Morgan’s story touched my heart…..just wonderful! :)

    • 14.1

      My mom is very hard of hearing, and she doesn’t see well. She’s the one who made the comparison between deafness and blindness.

      And yeah, it does take me a while to “converge” on a decision. I have some travel coming up, and that usually helps me get some perspective, too.

  15. 15
    Sharlene Martin Moore says:

    Possibly one of the hardest questions anyone has to try and answer. Good luck with your decision. I have no answer.

  16. 16
    Janiec says:

    I think when you can’t move forward is when it’s time to let go. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re miserable, but if it’s stagnant I don’t think it good for your mind or body.

  17. 17
    Sabrina Taylor says:

    I agree with Vanettz, you always have such hard questions.
    I would have to say that if you are not truly happy with your situation at the time and just have that “feeling”, it may be time to move on. There may be a better opportunity, such as in job, relationship or even friendships that are ok, but they are missing something. If you have to really think about choosing, then maybe it is time to move on. Sometimes you need to listen to your heart and not always your brain.

  18. 18
    Catherine says:

    When the bad days outweigh the good ones, it’s time to make a change. Of course, bad and good are relative and often conditional upon mental and physical health!

    In the past I’ve gotten a little too drastic in my changes — all or nothing / black and white thinking patterns. This go around I’m trying to do things differently. Instead of jumping out of one thing and jumping into another, I’m cutting back on one thing and slowly introducing another. It’s helping with that elusive panacea BALANCE.

    Also — loving the kitty pics! I just got my first cat ever last week! I’ve never been a pet person, but this little lady was abandoned by a tenant in a friend’s apartment building and I said I’d meet her. Then I fell in love! As names are wont to do, hers just came to me (based on her beauty, dignity and class) – Lady Grace Purrington — known as Gracie. Hope you’re okay with having a namesake! ♡

    • 18.1

      Your FIRST kitty? Julee J, did you hear that??? Catslady, a convert is among us!

      Well, of course you fell in love. Lady Grace Purrington is only her official name. Cats have other names, including their secret them only they know, which they contemplate when purring with their eyes squinched shut.

      You are going to have such fun with this new friend. Good on you!

  19. 19
    Tracey S says:

    I was diagnosed with carpel tunnel in both wrist just this past week. In my line of work that can be the death kell. I hope it doesn’t come to that. Culinary school, restaurant jobs, and the bakery I’m working in now…I’ve loved every minute. I say follow your heart.
    If you decide to go full time with the writing, you know you have all of us readers…waiting patiently (sort of) for more of your stories.

    • 19.1

      Tracey, it’s the same for writers–carpal tunnel, cubital tunnel, thoracic outlet syndrome, and it all comes down to repetitive, forceful, awkward postures, like typing all the livelong day.

      Hope you can work out of it, as the horse people say. I swear by acupuncture, but everybody has different modalities of pain and inflammation relief.

  20. 20
    Kathy Nye says:

    Congrats on having some free time and enjoy all the things you listed and more! Spring is almost here and with being able to get outside I think you will enjoy the freedom even more. Selfishly, I am glad you have additional quality time to write.
    As a very recent retiree I can tell you, you will know when it is time to completely retire. You have something to retire to (writing career) instead of just leaving a career–that is the ideal path. While I am enjoying my indulgent phase I am thinking of looking for part-time work soon. Part–time is the key for me. I still want some freedom and time to indulge in anything/everything.
    I look forward to watching you on your continuing journey.

    • 20.1

      Kathy, I’ve been wondering how the transition is working for you. You had a good, long approach to this landing strip, and I thought you were smart to do it mid-year. If you’d done it year end, then it wouldn’t have really sunk in until September.

      Cannot imagine somebody with your skills will not find a ton of part time positions, but I hope you take your time choosing.

  21. 21
    Molly R. Moody says:

    Grace I made the decision to take early social security benefits just before I turned 62 as I haven’t been able to work since ’01 and that benefit upped my income by about half. I’m mow able to help my daughter a tiny bit financially when she needs it and I’m able to buy the grandkids more than one Christmas and birthday gift, though not a whole raft of things. It also allows me to live on my own with almost no financial worries. I’m not sure I actually “gave up on a good thing” by doing this but I feel I actually have gained “a good thing”.

    • 21.1

      Molly, my siblings are the point where they’re debating whether to start collecting or hold off. The decision is different for everybody, but it’s nice to know that safety net it there. For you, and for the people who rely on you.

  22. 22
    Mary T says:

    Boy, that’s a tough question. Most of the choices I’ve had to make were not to difficult. And usually, once I made the decision I felt quite at peace with it.

    I’m wishing you all the best with your decision. I’m sure that whatever you decide will be right.

    • 22.1

      What makes me hesitate is a fear that a) my books won’t sell (historical romance isn’t exactly a booming sub-genre these days) or b) I’ll run out stories worth writing.

      But then there’s my other side: When I ditch the lawyer job, the very best stories will start bubbling up, and not before.

      • 22.1.1
        Mary T says:

        Well, if my vote counts – which, of course, it should not, I’m hoping that you concentrate on the writing. But that is just selfish because I love your writing.

        Follow your heart.

  23. 23
    Mary Doherty says:

    I stopped working a few years ago. I was very sick for a very long time and the dr’s couldn’t figure out what was wrong, but I kept working. For five years I did this and every bit of my energy went to my job. I had nothing left for my home life. I lost so much weight that I looked like was dieing. My husband and I had to decide if we wanted to chose money over having a life at home. Home life won out. And I am pretty stable now, but if I were to try to go back to work, it would just start over again. We make the best of what is handed to us and my best is stay home, so that I can stay well. Chronic illnesses can destroy your life if you let it.

    • 23.1

      Glad you folded up your professional tent and went home. I’ve come across that article lately, about the five regrets people have when they’re dying, and pouring so much into the job is one of them.

      One regret you won’t have.

  24. 24
    Trudy Miner says:

    I didn’t exactly have much choice in the matter; my body did it for me. I had to quit working over 10 years ago but I sensed it was coming since I was so very, very tired from driving long distances to my job and working with toxic administrators. Now, however, I’m doing volunteer work at the library tutoring adults in ESOL, what I was trained to do and what I loved doing. But, and it’s a big but, I can only do it for three hours once/week; then I’m wiped out for the rest of the day and all of the next day. I would love to take on more students but I just can’t and I have to be happy with that.

    • 24.1

      Trudy, that’s part of what’s making me think it’s time to un-lawyer. I don’t sleep well the night before court, then I’m in court all day, and then the entire next day, I’m wiped out. We’re sometimes doing cases from before nine until after five, with a very short lunch, and the whole time you’re over at the courthouse, your phone messages and emails are piling up… it’s an exhausting hamster wheel.

      I hope your stamina improves, but you’re probably doing more good in three hours than some more energetic people do in thirty.

  25. 25
    bn100 says:

    when you keep thinking about it

    • 25.1

      My brother says you know something’s a problem when… it robs you of sleep. Maybe “when you keep thinking about it” is a way to say the same thing. You can’t put it down, you can’t get free of it. Hmm.

  26. 26
    Negar says:

    For me, It was knowing that I could not do any more school. Even if I never get a job, never mind one I’m qualified for, I know that I made the right choice. No more headaches or stomach issues for me. Not worth the stress.

    • 26.1

      I hear you. I think about going back to school for an MFA or PhD, but then… I could be using that time to write my fun books. To dig in the dirt of my flower beds. And those people, they charge you big money to take up all your free time and make you sweat over assignments.

      So, maybe no more school for me too.

  27. 27
    Daniela Kurzban says:

    Unfortunately, this is one question I do not yet have an answer to and I know it will continue holding me back until I know myself well enough to answer it. I am always slow to make the decision to change, and it always causes much more unnecessary stress than if I had taken the “band-aid” approach. However, knowing ones own faults is the first step toward improving oneself, so I have hopes of better decision making skills in the future! Good luck to you, Grace.

    • 27.1

      I dunno, Daniela. Everybody has a different approach to change, just as every baby has a different way of coming into the world. I tend to make long transitions, but they go pretty smoothly, with an extended period of having a foot in both camps, or a hand on two steering wheels.

      Other people leap first and choose their landing spot in mid-air.

      Your way is right for you, for now.

      • 27.1.1
        Daniela says:

        Maybe my problem is seeing situations as one or the other, rather than the possibility of doing both as once while in transition. Perhaps decisions wouldn’t be so hard if I saw that possibility!

  28. 28
    catslady says:

    I never know lol. I’m more afraid of change than trying to improve my lot in life. As an example: the first full time job I had was eventually going to be lost because they were moving out of state. I had left for 9 months to go to another state when my husband was in the service so I had no real tenure although I had worked there for a while. They gave bonuses for people to stay – your age time years worked. I was still fairly young and they wouldn’t count my original time there so I had no money coming. But did I look for another job early on – nope, stuck it out until the end and when I had to find another job. Of course I should have been one of the first to go, logically I knew that, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. That’s pretty much how I deal with everything. Emotion trumps logic every time (sigh).

    • 28.1

      I don’t think it’s that simple, Catslady. If you knew you were going to change jobs, but you liked the job you had, why not hang onto it as long as you could, and hope something might come along to make the change optional? There’s a lot to be said for rolling with the punches.

      That said, I would have probably been job hunting the day the memo came out. I hate to job hunt, but I hate to collect unemployment even more.

  29. 29
    Valerie Hennigh says:

    I think that when you start asking yourself those difficult questions it’s because deep down you already know the difficult answers. I don’t think those questions consciously occur to a person until you slow down from just keeping your pace on the figurative treadmill of the life you’ve made for yourself and realize that, at least subconsciously, you’ve known for awhile that it’s not quite the life you need.

    Once you finally admit that some changes are due, the next step requires a lot of soul-searching, prioritizing and decision making.

    • 29.1

      Valerie, my approach validates your comment–a change is often half implemented before I’m acknowledging that I’ve decided on a shift. I tend to make gradual, incremental shifts, but big ones. This is how I started my own law practice, got a master’s degree, and have ended some relationships. Gives me time to second guess myself and do the emotional heavy lifting as well as the logistical readjusting.

  30. 30
    may says:

    That’s a hard question. I think all good things do come to end. It’s hard to know when is the best time to leave and walk away. The tendency is to stay as long as possible so it’s hard to trust your own instinct. For me, I try to rely on my intellect and the rationale side and reason things out. I write it out and I especially love making lists to clear things up….

    • 30.1

      I’m not much of a list maker, but I will talk things through with friends. A couple of friends in particular are good about spotting patterns I’ve created but can’t see. (Graham, this means you.)

  31. 31
    Julia Taft says:

    For me I have been struggling with that decision for several years. Do I relocate and start my business over or do I continue to live somewhere I’m bored and dislike it? Do I want to struggle to establish myself again or stay where work is comfortable? For me I think realizing that I’m not getting younger and tomorrow is not always there has helped me make those hard changes. We don’t live forever. I have for years said I’ll relocate after my son graduates high school, it became after he graduates college. During the past year I have had several people pass away and it’s made me think about the things I keep putting off, like moving off the sandbar of an island I live on. We have no guarantee of tomorrow….

    • 31.1

      The first time I visit Scotland, I jumped in a cab and had the little old guy drive me up one side of the River Dee and down the other. VERY expensive, but I was pressed for time, and he was a local. He never stopped talking, had a story for every tree and tavern. One of the best memories I’ve collected, and among his stories was a warning: Travel NOW. His sister-in-law and brother had put off traveling, saving up for the golden years.

      You guessed it. She developed premature dementia, and there were no golden years.

      The guy who told me that story was gone a couple years later, and I’ve been back to Scotland twice since then. This year, I’m going by way of Italy…I owe him, for the memory of that day in Aberdeen, but also for the warning.

  32. 32
    LauraR says:

    Grace, being away from court will enable you to experience what your life would be like without it. Good luck with your decision. I don’t need to be in the drawing. Thanks!

  33. 33
    Juanita says:

    I think for me, that point is when the joy is gone, when everything is in a flat line without highs or lows, and I’m just existing.

    I want more than just “to be” – though of course, that’s easier said than done when one has a family and obligations.

    • 33.1

      Bingo. “I’m bored…” is very much, as the current saying goes, a first world problem. In court, I’m not bored, but I’m not often happy either. Not sure what kind of person could be…

  34. 34
    Mercy C says:

    Talk about hitting the nail right on the head, Grace.
    A couple of years ago, we’ve just moved to a new place, gave birth to my only child. Feeling at sea to the new area, I knew that I was in need of some new friends. So, I befriended another mother whose son is the same age as mine. Since they went to the same daycare, our kids grew up sharing toys and spit – they were the best buddies.

    Naturally, by spending more time with someone, one gets familiar with the quirks and irks of a person. I have always noticed her sense of entitlement to a lot of things, her tendency to belittle other people and how rude she becomes when she doesn’t get her way. At times, some of them directed to me. Attitudes I have decided to pass. I recognized this fact as her personality.

    One day, she had a house party that I couldn’t go because there was another important event that I preferred to attend. It was a fund-raising for victims of a catastrophic event. As soon as she heard me saying that I couldn’t make it to her party, she thumbed her nose at me, delivered a scathing word and turned her back at me. I was so furious I saw red! I went after her. I wanted to convey back some meaningful words at her but the presence of my son stopped me from rushing to her vehicle. I do not want my child witness me shred her to pieces because at that moment I knew I would have. I do not know where the control came from but I decided that I will be the bigger person. I am, however, done being friend with her.

    Grace, since that day on I have never uttered a word to her. Since we live in a small town, I see her on places regularly but I have literally shaken the dust and moved on.

  35. 35
    Keri S. says:

    Grace,

    I love each one of your books and the characters created. I will keep you in my prayers because I have made that move where I was happy and content where I was but there were some things that made me miserable and you could say I went from the frying pan into the fire because the new work environment I ended up in was worse but God placed on my heart around day 3 of the new job that He put me there for my new co-worker and the students, not for the politics of the office or trying to change what was not working efficiently.

    During your next few months of peace, I know you will have the opportunity to rest your mind, body and spirit and somewhere in there as you meditate and think on what route you want to take in your journey, the answer will come to you. Remember to sit back and enjoy the simple moments because they are easy to take for granted.

    • 35.1

      I do wonder: Without the “aggravation” of heading off to court periodically, would I appreciate the writing days so much? Would dive into the stories as wholeheartedly? Would I be as productive at the writing?

      The writer friends I’ve talked to who’ve quit the day job all say–yes, yes, and yes. Now I’ll have a chance to test their answers.

  36. 36
    Ann says:

    When something no longer fits I think it’s a good idea to give it to Good Will and put on something comfortable enough for me to do what feels better, and right.

    • 36.1

      I intend to pass the courtroom work on to my loyal minions, and they’re happy to have it… but I have to pass on the paycheck too, and that’s not quite so easy!

  37. 37
    Sheryl N says:

    When you keep rethinking things or asking yourself if you made the right choice, it’s time to give it up. It can’t start feeling like you have a heavy weight on your shoulders.

  38. 38
    Kassia says:

    Hi Grace,
    Wish I had seen this post before.
    If the situation is a job, if one can do it financially I think if the job looses its “challenge factor” or if every time you are reluctant getting out of bed for that… its time…
    A man- well its been some time now that that happened to me but its hard to give up the feeling of being with someone – not that it was a really bad relationship but just not the right one. I was more in love with the idea of getting married than the idea of marring that particular man even if he was a nice guy.
    I think deep down if you see something else getting hold of your heart and if it persists for a time its worth trying it out.
    I can see why you would have your doubts. I can just imagine how many long hours it may take to write a book. (specially your books – I love it and I confess I use the dictionary – English is my second language and you do write well and your vocabulary is really vast. I pay attention to these things!)
    But I digress… so I can imagine the effort and hard work you put into your books and to depend on the readers. Its a risk but hats off to you for going on and following your dream!

    • 38.1

      It is a risk, and in a way I didn’t appreciate when I was younger, there comes a point where starting all over isn’t so easy any more. You absorb new information more slowly, you don’t have as much energy, you don’t retain things as easily. I don’t want to have to re-learn courtroom advocacy in five years.

      But… if that’s the worst that happens? I’m OK with that.

  39. 39
    eli yanti says:

    Hemm.. I think I’m going through that way soon, I now need to move on but maybe still need a courage and what will I do next. Just think what I now or do now is almost zero now, boring and every day is same. But still don’t know what I want to do next.

    • 39.1

      Somebody once told me to think back to the last time I was really, really happy. Do whatever made you feel like that…

      Writing makes me really, really happy. Hope something happy lands on you soon, Eli!

  40. 40
    LSUReader says:

    FYI, all–I just found Grace’s newest, Trenton, for $3.99 as a Kindle book. Yay!