ETC Reunited!

That is the idea anyway. While speaking with an old and dear friend this past weekend, we agreed that we needed to do something to keep the friends that we grew up with close and updated with each other. Since we are now living throughout the country and don’t have much of an opportunity to get together these days, we decided to create an online forum, like a blog or wiki, where we could upload pictures and keep track of each other’s lives. Email has worked well for us for many things in the past, but there must be a better way to share pictures without cluttering up people’s inboxes. A blog is the perfect way to do that. It would take an effort on our part to contribute stories and information, but the hope is that if a few of us do it, all invited will be motivated to share what they are up to, their thoughts, and life’s exciting moments.

We found out today that our ten-year high school reunion will be this late September. I would like to go, but am not sure if my schedule (both at work and at home) will allow me to. I have also been somewhat planning an overseas trip in October, making another trip in late September more difficult. There must be a way I can combine the two, but my wife’s board exams in October create problems with that. Planning stuff is never easy, and I don’t expect it to become any easier when our baby is here in two months. Instead of bringing a backpack wherever we go, we’ll need strollers, diaper bags, blankets, and more. My life is going to change and I have no idea how much – or how much for the better. Ten years ago this spring I was ready to graduate from high school. Now I am slowly becoming ready to become a father. One constant through it all is ETC. ETC Reunited.  

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A Busier Schedule

My absence in writing this past week can only be blamed on a busier work schedule.  I even left work once at 11:00 pm last week. Leaving at 11:00 pm was, however, earlier than anyone else I was working with on the other side of the deal. So life in this practice group is not bad – both in terms of the people and the hours. The hours I have been working recently are closer to those that I expected to work after finishing law school. While I don’t mind long hours, it is nice to be able to have a life outside of work, which I know many attorneys in this city struggle to do. This will become even more important to me in exactly two months when my daughter is here. I enjoy exercising, reading, relaxing, and my own time too much to lose it completely in my life. But longer hours spent now may open doors for the future, exactly the reason why I and many other overworked people in this city continue to keep on doing it (note that I do not count myself as one who is “overworked” as referred to herein).

In other news, I am just glad that I made it through another New York winter. Haru ga yatto kimashita ne.

Divorce: Harder Than You Think

Two people close to me have been on the edge of ending their marriages through divorce. I’ve spoken with one of the two people in particular throughout the process and he took it much harder than I expected him to. He told me last night that he has decided to cancel the divorce proceedings and will go back and try to work it out. While I respect and support his decision, I couldn’t help but wonder what I would do in his situation. Would I stay married under the banner of duty, obligation, and commitment as a husband? Or would I move on, focus on myself and try to one day meet someone else? These are difficult questions. My first reaction is that my decision would be the latter. But as I have seen this person struggle with what he thought to be the “selfish” approach of moving on, it has caused me to reflect on the duties of husbandry and meaning of marriage. With this said, however, I still don’t know what my decision would be in the same situation. If I felt as if my marriage were preventing me somehow from reaching my full potential, I would be inclined to move on. I once read that 90% of one’s happiness or sorrow comes as a direct result from the person you are married to. If that is the truth (and I think it is, even if the percentage is not as high as 90%), then who would stay in a bad marriage? I have no answers, only that this experience has caused me to think about what I would do. Hopefully the decision to stay married or not will be a decision I will never feel forced to make. 

Who Will Be Our Nanny?

With the way things are currently going, my wife and I may need to get a nanny sooner than we expected due to the possible start date of my wife’s job. I know that many kids have nannies and come out just fine, but I have some problems with the idea. We have no family out here in New York. How do we find someone that we trust with our child, not to mention leaving them alone in our apartment for up to twelve hours a day? Think about the money we could save by not paying someone to watch our kid (New York is especially expesive, not surprisingly). Do we do it legit and go through an agency, or do we just find someone and pay them in cash weekly? 

At some point it makes sense to move closer to family for many reasons, child care being a main one. But, I don’t want to feel as if I am pawning off my child on family, although my mother-in-law seems happy and willing to help us out. At the same time, I don’t think that I am ready to forego a career to stay home with our child – and my wife isn’t either. She believes that we can do both, have careers and raise a family, with some help, and she’s probably right. But it will be no easy task, coupled with the notion that raising a child (or two or three) is a full-time job by itself. I knew all of this when we got married, and now we have some more huge decisions to make, starting with who will watch our newborn baby. 

I Miss You My Hawaii

I miss Hawaii. For three years I lived literally across the street from some of the nicest beaches in the world on the North Shore of Oahu. Beaches such as Hukilau, Pounders, Waimea, Pipeline, and Sunset were a few minutes away. During the winter, the waves reached incredible heights, as did the number of surfers to the North Shore. Personally, I wasn’t a surfer, but I did enjoy having the beach nearby. I could go on and on about how the unique culture and people of Hawaii came to grow on me (to the point where I often consider moving back there), but those are for future posts.

One of the things I miss most about Hawaii are my walks in the evening. After a long day of studying, I regularly wanted to get away and walk, let my thoughts wander as I saoked up some alone time. Since the beach was so close it was natural that I would often end up walking along the beach. Most of the time I was out walking at night, as it was the only chance in my schedule that afforded me the time to get away. I usually brought along some music on my MD player – Ayumi Hamasaki’s greatest hits was one of my favorite CDs at the time. When I listen to her album now, I can almost feel the sand on my feet and the moon shining above the restless ocean. Some nights on the beach were pitch black. Other nights were surprisingly bright, as if somone had flipped the switch on some stadium lights. When my mind could not sit still, I would turn off the music, sit down and listen to the neverending sound of the shore.

I am no longer in Hawaii and cannot say with certainty that I will live there in the future, but I do consider it part of my home. I am comfortable there and it will always be a part of me. For some great Hawaiian music, check out: http://www.hawaii.gov/gov/music. To know how I especially feel, listen to  “I Miss You My Hawai`i” by Na Leo Pilimehana. Even if I never do move back there, I will never forget my lone walks along the beaches of Oahu.

Learn, Earn & Return

I’ve recently come across what I believe to be a good model in life. The concept is learn, earn and return. For six years straight I was a college and law school student (I finsihed college in three years). Having recently graduated from law school, I am finally in the earning phase of my life for the first time. This is not to say that the learning in life ever ends, merely that I now am paid a decent salary for the marketable skills I obtained through my education. The earning (and learning) phase of my life will continue for years to come, hopefully allowing me to completely pay off my student loans, provide well for my family, save and invest a good amount of money, and maybe even buy a house (which seems improbable as long as we are in New York).

Ultimately, however, life is about more than making money. The sad part is that many people, having failed to acquire sufficient education or adequate opportunities, must work until the day they die to support themselves and their family. This of course prevents one from having the flexibility required to be able to use their money in some form to help others, not to say that money is a prerequisite to helping others. I’ve been taught that seeking money is not a bad thing, so long as it is not the number one priority in life. Money is a resource that can help in many wonderful ways (think of Gates and Buffett). I have ideas as to how I want to return my assets to help others, both in knowledge, time and money, but I am still in the early stages of my earning phase and plan to focus on that for the next decade or so.

Some days there is just not much to say