Law in Contemporary Society

Where do you hope to be in 20 years?

-- By MichaelAdams - 21 May 2017

How it Started

Some variation of this question begins to leave the mouths of our elders beginning in first grade. My parents asked me this question in hopes of not only instilling in me a goal oriented mindset, but to also keep my imaginations in check, or so I thought. Children often dream of being astronauts, circus performers, or even other animals and although parents contradict themselves with the statement of “you can do whatever you put your mind to”, the question of should you, brings up concerns. Most parents in our society change the narrative as the child gets older. Slowly erasing possibilities and changing them into practicalities. Embedding their goals, aspirations, and struggles into our psyche so that we can live a better life. Is it really that selfish of them to do this? After all, everyone wishes that the next generation is better than the last, that is called progress.

My parents made sure that I knew that I could do better than they did. But, the way in which this was to be accomplished generationally was not through imagination. It was through putting your mind to something that your mind can grasp at the moment. Staying afloat was the immediate goals of my parents.

So as I started to formulate an idea of how I wanted to live my life, it was heavily influenced by the importance of being comfortable. Never having to concern myself with the obtainability of necessities. That was my parents’ definition of happiness. So I made decisions based on what I believed would make me happy, but I had my parents all wrong. 

My Journey

When I applied to undergraduate institutions I focused on places that had good political science programs. Why? That was the most popular major for law school applicants and the person in my family who lived the most comfortable lifestyle was my uncle — a lawyer, so my journey began. However, while traversing the halls of my undergraduate institution during my first semester, I thought about what comfortable meant. I did not want that at the expense of choice; I was comfortable with being uncomfortable. I switched my major to finance without so much as taking an introductory course in high school. For once I had made a decision without a path completely drawn out. Unfortunately, as the years went on I found myself grasping again for comfortable. I saw my friends lust for the top finance jobs with the highest salaries. I fell into this trap and did the same.

I woke up one day wondering what I was thinking. Confusion came over me and the feeling of being lost was consuming. Ignorance is bliss and I thought that I was progressing rapidly to my better self. So I kept putting one foot in front of the other and following the motions, the comfortable route. Completing a degree in finance, because that would lead to stability. Off to corporate America, because that was the logical next step.

Based on this mindset I applied to law school. Introspection can be difficult, especially when you do not like what you see. One day after getting a job offer for a coveted 1L summer job I called my mother to reveal the good news. She responded that she has happy that I had the opportunity to choose to do something that I loved and it was coming to fruition. In that moment I realized what my parents truly wanted for their son. They were not happy because I would be comfortable, they were comforted because I was happy. Because my destiny was chosen and not given. In their mind I was living for myself and everything else would and should come second.

The Future

I am at a pivotal point in my life where I have the freedom, time, and opportunities to choose my path. In actuality, I will always make sure that this is the case. I have to make sure that I use my time to actually move toward my better self. Even if my journey to law school did not fulfill this thought process.

In 20 years I hope to personally see positive results from taking chances and never settling. I do not have to have a plan. In my parents’ time, not having a plan meant not having food on their table. I have the unique privilege of developing my intellectual faculties in order to be equipped with the skills to choose. I realized that choices and flexibility are what anyone wants. My ancestors had no choices, their lives were decided by someone else. My parents were ultimately not focused on whether or not I was comfortable, they just wanted me to have the option, to be comfortable making decisions for myself until I was happy. If I decided to go down the path of the starving artist, at least I made the decision. In 20 years I hope I know that whatever my circumstance, I have options and I have choices.

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r3 - 22 May 2017 - 02:06:11 - MichaelAdams
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