From the Editor

What’s Next

By Joan M. Burda

When I first tried writing this column, I was stuck and I mentioned it to my little brother, Jack. He asked me what it was about, and I told him the issue topic was “Old.” “Old,” he said, “well, you should know a lot about being old.” Ah, the wonder that is a little brother. It amazes me that he made it this far . . . without his big sister beating the snot out of him. But he did get the creative juices flowing.

This issue addresses the concept of “Old.” Issue editor Jim Schwartz has produced an excellent array of articles and authors addressing myriad issues on the subject. I think everyone will find articles of interest within these pages.

Face it: We all will get old if we’re lucky. Groucho Marx reminded us that anyone can get old; we only have to live long enough. How do you know when you are getting old? The music of your youth becomes the “music of your life”—and Musak in elevators and malls. Your rock stars are drawing Social Security. Bartenders are younger than your kids. You get a ticket from a traffic cop whose mother you used to babysit.

I belong to the baby boom generation. We have believed, despite evidence to the contrary, that we are the best and the brightest. We redefined a woman’s place in the greater scheme, demanded and received concessions from our elders. We grew up watching television and attended college in greater numbers. We entered the world with a bang, maintained that noise level, and decided not to go gently into the night. We are redefining the aging process and what it means to be “old.” Retirement is taking on a new meaning, one that does not need to include endless days on the golf course.

Sometimes, though (okay, more often than not), boomers forget that we are not the raison d’être of the world. We compete with Gen X, Y, and Z for jobs, prestige, and respect. Within the Division, we see the competing interests of these groups. The boomers, naturally, think they do it best. The younger members believe they can do it better—or at least different. The former may resent the latter coming in with expectations of immediate leadership opportunities. We forget that we can learn from and teach each other.

The average age of our membership is 41, outside the boomer generation. Those of you who are near this “average” age are most likely dealing with young children, aging parents, and growing practices. The idea of retirement is somewhere on a cloud-strewn horizon. You cannot afford to worry about tomorrow or yesterday because you are too concerned about meeting the demands of today. You may be asking, “What about me?”

When you read the articles in this issue, consider how you can incorporate the information into your own life, practice, or family. Looking at how things might go at some point in the future does not mean we must forget about living today. By the same token, generating enthusiasm for who and what we are now will bode well for us later in life. Only when we outlive our enthusiasm will we be old. Our minds reflect our skills and talents, and they open the door to the creativity lying within. As long as we continue to tap into that well, we will hold back the forces of “old.”

This magazine is now celebrating 25 years of publishing excellence. During the past quarter-century, the magazine has been known by several different names: GPSolo, GP Solo and Small Firm Lawyer, and The Compleat Lawyer, to name a few. In spite of the name changes, the magazine always strives to publish timely articles addressing issues pertinent to our membership. We will continue to pursue this goal as we start the next quarter-century of publishing.

Read this issue and determine which articles apply to your life and practice. Take some time and figure out for yourself what’s next. Doing that can be the most important part of the day. And let me know what you think. What would you like to see on these pages? And don’t forget to send me your list of things you want to do before you die—we’ll run the results in the October/November issue. 

Joan M. Burda, editor-in-chief of GPSolo , operates a solo practice in Lakewood, Ohio, and may be reached at .

Copyright 2008

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