Before I quit, one of the risk factors I feared was becoming bored or lonely. My husband works a lot, so I am home by myself most of the time. But as it turns out I’ve hardly felt bored or lonely.
I have been spending many hours with our cats Bellucci and MacGregor, as well as with foster cats when we have them. Despite having the fosters around, Bellucci and MacGregor seem happier and more affectionate. I think they enjoy having me around, talking to them, massaging them and scooping their poops more diligently.
Bellucci, the more aloof one, has often come to me unprompted, curling her lithe body on my lap as I type away on my computer. MacGregor, the attention seeker, loves taking afternoon naps with me. He often suggestively spreads his furry body against my chest wanting to be spooned. Falling asleep to the sound of his guttural purrs is bliss.
MacGregor, a quintessential mama’s boy, has gotten more attached to me. But there are consequences to his attachment.
When I was away at MIT two weeks ago, MacGregor apparently missed me so much that he lashed out by biting my husband’s arm. He bit so hard that the deep wound later got swollen and infected. My poor husband had to go to the emergency room to get antibiotics and a tetanus shot. Perhaps it is my fault for spoiling the buggers so much, but they are just too damn cute.
I also try to give equal attention to our foster cats. I feel bad for them not having found their loving forever home yet. So, I try to give them as much love as possible. I love the moment when a foster cat comes out of hiding for the first time and sniffs me before rubbing his or her cheek against my palm.
Lest you think I spend my time only with felines, I still have human interactions. I still see my ex-colleagues regularly for lunch or coffee. Revisiting my old haunts near Grand Central — and seeing the glassy-eyed workers in white shirts and muted-colored ties or twin-set sweaters and skirts and the well-coiffured middle-aged men in their pinstriped power suits and bold-colored ties — reminds me that I no longer belong in their world. Theirs is a world that requires sacrifices, divided between those who have made it and those who continue to struggle to make it whether wittingly or unwittingly. A world that once occupied too many of my waking hours. Now I am just a spectator.
In my new world, I have reconnected with old friends and made new ones. I attend more talks and events and volunteer with more organizations. I meet more people as a result. Most of them do not work in law or finance and are not people I would have normally met while still working in BigLaw. Some share my love for animals, some are plotting their own career transitions, and some are bloggers leaving trails of carefully chosen words in the digital ether.
I have also become a voracious blog reader. Blogs were unfamiliar territory before I started my own. Sure, I followed a couple of legal blogs when I was still working, checking for relevant tidbits like bonus announcements, summer associate snafus and law firm expansions and layoffs. I didn’t realize there is a whole world of blogs out there on a variety of topics ranging from dating life in New York City, cooking porn (i.e., pictures of mouth watering dishes), entrepreneurship and its challenges, joy of child-rearing, joy of being child-less, to curmudgeon yet witty rants that make me laugh out loud.
I quickly graduated from reading legal blogs to personal blogs. I admit it is voyeuristic to track other people’s lives, but some lives are just so engrossing. Upon first glance, their lives seem so different from mine, yet I often find myself having more things in common with them than with my JD brethren. I sometimes email the authors or leave comments on their blogs, and more often than not they respond. Without really meaning to, we sometimes start a conversation.
Yes, sometimes, people just want to have a good ol’ conversation, a conversation that stimulates the mind and relays human understanding.