Way way back in the distant sands of time, I was a practicing lawyer. Friends and acquaintances have gone years without knowing this, mostly by my design. Given the demanding nature of my husband's job, my career took a backseat when Primo was born, and I moved from full to part-time. When Terzo came along, I changed my status to "retired" and quit altogether. I never felt that being a lawyer was an integral part of my identity or even a particularly comfortable fit for me, so this wasn't a hard decision to make, though I fully support women who make different decisions. This issue has many shades of grey to it, and every choice is a highly personal one.
I won't deny that I was lucky to have choices. Lucky to be able to stay home with my kids (though I always had some sort of job, whether it was tutoring high school students or doing the billing for my husband's office). Lucky to have a degree to cushion me and my family, just in case.
When it was time for Primo to go to college, it was time for me to dust off that degree, in some form. My passion is knitting and fiber crafting, but those weren't going to pay THAT particular bill. So I went back to work as a paralegal, part-time, because I still have two kids at home that need my attention. For all the reasons listed above, it was not hard for me to be working in a law firm but not in lawyer capacity. I assumed that I would have to make up hours and hours of continuing legal education to be fully reinstated, and I was in no hurry to spend my time doing that.
Last week it was time to file my annual attorney registration, and I realized: I am no longer retired. The powers-that-be confirmed that I could call myself whatever I wanted, but as I was doing legal work, that exemption no longer applied.
In the time it took for me to type in my credit card number, I was reinstated as an attorney. The legal education requirement didn't apply after all, since I was on retired status; I just need to finish it by next year.
All this time, I thought I was in a different country, on a different continent even, and would require the equivalent of a passport with a lengthy application process to return. It turns out, I was just in the next room. The door was right there the whole time. In fact, I had passed through it without even knowing.
I can't get used to the feeling of it. For many years now, I have denied the professional side of me, which I walked away from willingly over ten years ago with nary a backward glance. I wandered around after my discovery in a daze, when of course nothing really changed.
So, here I am. I don't want to give up my shepherding and designing and creating. I am utterly unsure how the two fit together, or even if they can fit together, but exciting new things are happening for me in that realm, and I am adamantly opposed to giving it up.
Unlike before, I don't want to walk away from this, but I don't know, just yet, how I will stay.