Atrophy

One of the best things that hapened to me recently was the extent to which the beach house in Captiva was outfitted.  There was an eletronic keyboard, a guitar, a ukelele, tennis rackets, a fantastic kitchen outfitted with wonderful appliances and cookery, a set of snorkling gear …  all that was missing was a harmonica to remind me of everything I was good at once, and am not now.  I played at all of it to fill the time between mojitos and tanning.  I even went for a run one morning down there, and the desperate exhaustion I felt after only three miles along sandy paths brought home to me the extent to which I’ve lost the various skills I spent so much effort cultivating while growing up.

It’s interesting reflecting on the last ten years of workaholism.  I came out of law school in 2000 with the industry laid out at my feet and have progressed through a series of different jobs, exploring the law and finding positions increasingly suited to my talents and inclinations.  For the last four years, I’ve been operating in the penumbra of law and technology, with the lawyers who used to be my colleagues now my clients.  I push electrons around and find creative or savvy ways to use computers to increase efficiency in complex litigation.  It’s been four years of ridiculous hours put in, honing my craft as anyone does who finds a field in which not just anyone can succeed, and who wants to be very good at it.

Somewhere over the last week, though, I realized that I’ve lost the callouses on my fingertips and memory of chords for the guitar.  Alison discreetly stopped tickling the keyboard when I walked in – I don’t know whether that’s because she feels like she’s lost her touch, too, or whether she didn’t want to rub in the fact that I’ve lost mine (likely the latter, because she sounded great).  My breath is gone from lack of exercise so snorkling to find her a conch shell was a failed mission.  We stopped and shot baskets down by the country club, and my jump shot is horrific.  I even tried sketching and threw out my efforts because I was disgusted by the way I’d lost my connection with the pen.  All work and no play makes Jack a very one-dimensional boy.

It’s in reflection of how wonderful it was to turn off the Blackberry for the first real time in several years, and in realizing how much I truly love to do those things I can’t do anymore, that I’m starting to think I’ve reached a point of maturity that would allow me to relax this work ethic.  I still want to have a job, but I have someone in my life that inspires me to do more, and I want to be an athlete and a musician and an artist again.  As discouraging as it was to pick things up for the first time in a while, I’m so excited to reconnect with those things.  They say that when you’re old, you never sit around and wish you’d worked more when you were younger.  Alison isn’t sure she agrees with that, but I do.  I’m looking forward to getting back to who I am.  Work will be there in the morning.

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