Tuesday, December 22, 2009

How I've been feeling -- really -- lately.

Alright, more personal stuff. I'm davening these days, and I'm learning Chitas and Rambam each day. I'm happy with where I am, but I never expected to be HERE.

When I came to NY, I thought I was going to go back to school full time, live on federal loans, and that I would be working to get that much needed engineering degree (electrical engineering seemed to be my path of choice because it provided the best opportunities for patent attorneys). I never expected not to be in school, and I never expected to be taking the NY bar exam! This seemed to be the farthest thing from my mind, especially since I thought I'd be hiring by a law firm but this never happened. I suppose I didn't try enough when I got here, but I did pound my social network and none of the leads panned out. Even my Crown Heights yeshiva buddies and rabbis weren't helpful. I was disappointed by this, but I suppose that I have decided to start my own practice to spite them all and to show everyone including myself that I can do this.

I feel in a way that I am sticking a finger up at the law firm world and saying F.U. to those that thought I would fail. I am genuinely filled with anger at how things turned out, but I have no doubt that I'll pass this bar exam. I also will go against my inclination and will apply to law firms again once this bar review is finished. I will also apply in the summer as well, and will network with people should it be G-d's plan for me to work in a firm. All this being said, I'm going my own route and starting my own practice.

As for being a husband and a father, I think I'm doing an okay job. My kids are torah-oriented (my son doesn't like watching Rebbe videos but he loves saying pesukim), and we're doing a good job with chinuch. My wife works her butt off caring for the kids, and I feel bad for everything she is forced to do because of the choices we have made. That being said, to my surprise, she's taking a class to start the process of going back to school to specialize, and while I support her, I'd rather we work as a team on our family and our livelihood because I see her getting yet another degree when she's not using the two she already has as a waste of time and a threat to the integrity of our family. I really hopes she follows through with this and gets a job and is happy, but I don't think this is what she really wants, and she gets angry at me when I ask any questions about whether she has done enough due diligence in making an educated decision as to whether to go down this path or not. I know she has seen the bad news, that those in her field are unemployed, but I feel like she ignores this bad news and thinks things will be different for her, just as I thought law would be different for me when I entered law school after 2002. I just hope she knows what she is doing, and I'm trusting G-d to direct us in the right direction to open doors and shut doors as appropriate.

On another note, I keep asking myself, "is this all life is?" "Will I be doing this for the rest of my life? Making adjustments, changing plans, dealing with the mundane?" Where's the excitement in all this? Where is the fantasy? Where is the meaning and the euphoria?!? My life, even with all of its activity is boring and it often feels like it is a meaningless waste. I wish I knew what I was supposed to be doing, and I wish what I was supposed to be doing was energizing, meaningful, and fun. So far, I feel BLAH about everything. I'd love to break out of my shell, but I don't know where the boundaries are. I don't know what the goals are. Everything feels so wishy washy, as if G-d will direct me in the right direction, but I hate having blindfolds on.

My energy has also been quite low lately. I don't have motivation to do things like shower, cook, eat, exercise, clean, or take proactive steps in the planning of my life experience (even though I do each of these every day to some degree). I'm just going with the flow and doing what I need to do to get through this next hurdle, the bar exam, and becoming a father of soon-to-be three. I wish I had a bit more life and excitement in me.


Kiley said...

Things WILL work out...you have always been an exceptionally strong individual, and you have selected a fine (likewise strong-minded though) life partner: I couldn't see you having it any other way!

Life is strange and crazy for numerous folks right now, but things will fall into place. Take care and bless you!

Zoe Strickman said...

Thank you, I appreciate it. BTW, I saw your facebook invite, but there's too much personal stuff on there and I'm very protective of that account. I'm on many other social networks as well; I'd be happy to add you as a buddy on those. -ZS

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I stumbled upon your link after I googled "being a father" and "the bar exam." I'll be taking the Feb California Bar and my wife just found out about her pregnancy yesterday.

As if I didn't need more reasons to pass on my first try. Any tips/advice?

Zoe Strickman said...

Hello my fellow father. Chances are that if you're taking the bar exam in the next few weeks (Feb 2010), then there's not that much to worry about because no baby is joining us tomorrow. However, if you're taking the bar NEXT YEAR (or even if you need to make sure you pass this time around), I suggest separating yourself from your family during the time you study for as much as possible. For example, I'm in a Starbucks studying right now (and consequently blogging), but EARPLUGS ARE SERIOUSLY NEEDED WHEREVER YOU ARE. As for the week or so before the bar, try to get as much alone time as possible. For example, in a few days, I'll be checking into a hotel for a week so that I can isolate myself and study without distractions. My wife will be home with the kids.