August 16, 2019 Article

Don’t Get Bent Out of Shape: Strive for Flexibility and Balance

Know your nonnegotiables and consider nontraditional alternatives.

By Bonnie Kelly

“Blessed are the flexible, for they will never be bent out of shape.” For years, I worked with a woman who had this at the bottom of her email signature. And for years, with every email received, I thought, “How trite—another inspirational quote that doesn’t work for my Type A-ish personality.” However, when I decided to change careers midlife and enter law school, I learned the importance of flexibility and maintaining life balance really quickly. I kept my full-time job and was raising two children, so being flexible became the theme of our lives. After work, I raced home to make an early dinner for myself and kids before heading to law school four nights a week. The weekends were a delicate balance of study and homework, church and the kids’ sports. I learned to never be without a textbook and notepad. Ten minutes in the car waiting for my son’s baseball practice to end was 10 minutes for reading cases. During my daughter’s orthodontist appointments, I was in the waiting room working on course outlines. Being in the car provided opportunities to listen to lectures on Civ. Pro. or Con. Law. (No one wanted to go anywhere with me.) I recognized that if I was going to survive the career change, I needed to be flexible and maintain life balance or I would make myself crazy, sick, or both.

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