Beginnings are hard.
When [REDACTED] told me that he wanted to go to law school, I didn’t think much about it.
I was in a job that left me feeling empty at the end of each day, and I figured some change would be good.
He started studying for the LSAT and I started a preliminary job search, not expecting much.
[REDACTED] took the LSAT, and I took an offer for a new job. Everything was fine.
Then, reality hit. I came home from work, feeling fulfilled, and [REDACTED] came home from work feeling empty. He was ready for a change. I was not.
I was falling in love with my new job. I loved the work, the people, the place – it was perfect. Except, [REDACTED] was applying to law schools in every direction. Law schools that were far far away from my perfect job.
I started to resent law school. And then, I started to resent [REDACTED].
Why did he get to pursue this big dream goal while I had to give up everything? Why couldn’t he just get a new job and go to law school later?
Hindsight being 20/20, I realize now that I was being selfish. [REDACTED] had spent years in a job that didn’t fit his passions or his goals. He had told me he wanted to go to law school, he had even gone through an entire application process already and decided to wait an extra year. He had studied for the LSAT for months. I had wrapped myself in a cozy little blanket of denial and plowed ahead at my job as if law school was just a passing phase. I hadn’t done the work I needed to prepare myself for what was inevitable.
But how could I even begin to explain to [REDACTED]—whose dreams centered around going to law school—that his dream was my nightmare. How could I be so selfish to think that my desire to stay at my job (a job that fulfilled my soul, but did not fulfill our need for health insurance) was more important than his desire to leave his job (which did provide our health insurance, but didn’t fulfill [REDACTED]’s soul)?
I’m going to pause here and say, I haven’t been married for that long, but I can tell you this: when in doubt, go to therapy.
Before we got married (and moved in together), we went to therapy. Marriage is the most involved team sport I will ever play, and a therapist is like the team coach.
Before we got a dog, we probably should have gone to therapy. But, I was still wrapped in my cozy blanket of denial, and the dog was wrapped up in some serious maybe-this-will-make-[REDACTED]-forget-law-school brain storming. (Don’t get me wrong – that dog has become one of my favorite things, we adore her, and she is very good.) The dog is beside the point.
As I said before—beginnings are hard.
Starting therapy was hard. Being in therapy was hard. It took a while before the work that we were doing with our therapist became habits that we (try to) stick to today.
First was listening, and talking. I had been too scared to open up about my fears about law school—mainly, that I had only ever lived in one place and was terrified of moving. The “What if”s really started to build.
What if [REDACTED] made new friends, and I was left all alone?
What if his schedule meant he was never home, and I was all alone?
What if we moved, and I got a new job, and I hated that new job, and then I started to hate him?
What if I stopped loving him, or he stopped loving me?
That was the worst “what if” of all.
So, [REDACTED] and I set some boundaries. We decided that some nights, we would talk about law school. Other nights, we would talk about anything and everything except law school.
I assigned myself some homework—to research the places where [REDACTED] was excited to apply to. And I gave [REDACTED] some homework, which was to look at schools close to home, and get excited about applying to them.
In the beginning, it was hard. But with small steps and intentional conversations about the future and our hopes and dreams (as individuals and as a couple), we came up with a list of eight schools.
I gave myself a pat on the back for all of our hard work. We did it!
We had a list. The Epic Law School Cycle was over.
Oh friend, was I ever wrong.