Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Pensive/Life lessons with Martha

Every day to get to school I walk two blocks south to the subway station. I ride the A train uptown - 14, 34, 42, 59 - and then walk four blocks or so to my school on 62nd Street and Ninth Avenue. On the way up to school in the mornings, amid the commuters and the guys hawking free newspapers and the men asking for money, I find myself asking these questions:

Why am I going to law school?
Why am I going to Fordham law school? I never even heard of it until I moved here.
Why did I leave my job?
How did I end up here (New York City, law school, this subway car)?
Who are these people I go to school with? Do I belong with them, am I one of them?
Why again am I in law school?
When exactly did I decide to go to law school? Like, fifteen minutes before orientation started?
Am I willing to give everything it takes to make law review and be at the top and thrive there, or am I willing to step out of that race in order to be happy with the I've cobbled together already?
Am I willing to step aside from anything?
Am I willing to take a different path from the others, when that puts me out someplace by myself and I don't have the safety of a crowd to comfort me?
And if I do take that lone path, can I do it without second-guessing myself?
What will I do after this is over? Where will I go?

When I think about these things, it's like pulling bricks out of a wall, deconstructing my life until there is nothing but a pile of rubble. And then the order I think I've created is slapped back down into chaos. I don't think anything could withstand the kind of interrogation I'm willing to put myself through (for whatever reason), but even when all of these external issues are on the ground below me (school, job, apartment) there are still the strong and tensile relationships binding me to my life (L, my family, my friends). If the choices I have made post-college form a brick wall that can be chipped and broken apart, the relationships form a web behind it that I couldn't break even if I tried. Sometimes I feel like my life has been this aimless, erratic flight ever since college. At times I feel like I've spent too much time in school, especially when I consider that of the six years after college, I will have been in school for four of them.

When does it become clear? Does it ever? Do these questions ever abate?

I'm not depressed or anything, just pensive. Spending all my days at the law school, reading the books they tell me to and thinking about the topics they assign, I wonder what exactly it is that I'm doing. My life right now, as much as I enjoy it on one level, seems comically and irredeemably random much of the time.

I told one of my new law school friends my strategy for answering questions in the class, and then I heard it again from the hapless Shawn just before she got booted from The Apprentice: Martha and now I wonder if it is the way everyone stumbles through adulthood, faking it 'til you make it.

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