Every week, without fail, I’m late for my pilates class. Now, I’m not always late for everything. In fact, I have become quite punctual over the years. But for some reason, I simply can’t seem to get to that weekly 9:15am class on time. Perhaps it’s because on more than one occasion, when I arrived around 9:20 or 9:30, I noticed the class hadn’t even started yet. So why should I rush through the morning if they can’t even start on time? I’d like to blame my 3 kids under 7, but that’s not really a valid excuse. If we are talking honestly, I’d have to admit that it is feasible to brush all their teeth, pack all their lunches, and even clean up some spilled milk and still get to my class on time.
I suppose I have been struck with the disease of routine, and not a good one. I am routinely late for pilates, so why should this week be any different? Well, I’ll tell you why. This week, my teacher’s teacher flew in from another country to teach our class. She one of these pilates experts who can do a perfect plank forever, while chatting away, smiling, and of course, never breaks a sweat. My teacher told me once, and then twice, to please please be on time for the class especially THIS week.
"Our limitations are so ingrained in our minds, we trick ourselves into thinking they represent reality."
I was distraught. I thought to myself, “maybe it’s better that I skip the class than disrespectfully show up late.” So that was it. I decided if there were too many disasters in the morning and I couldn’t get to class by 9:15, I’d simply skip it.
Then something miraculous happened. I woke up at 7, as usual, and I got everyone dressed, fed, cleaned, brushed, and out the door by 8-something. I was even back home by 8:30 and had leisurely time to dollop around some ant poison, throw in a load of laundry, and tackle some dishes. What happened?? I was amazed, impressed, and dumbfounded. Why can’t I do this every week?
The answer is simple: we limit ourselves. I had resigned myself to coming late to class every week. That became my new normal and so it was. Today, however, I did not follow my normal routine. I stretched myself today and I accomplished something real. It’s a little something, but it has inspired me. When I put my mind to it, I can do it. That’s incredible and true. I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard this lesson, but to experience it is the real gold. Our limitations are so ingrained in our minds, we trick ourselves into thinking they represent reality. Do not be fooled! Go out on a limb today. Try a little harder. Push yourself and you will achieve.
After I passed the California Bar Exam in 2009, an East Coast colleague of mine said, “congratulations. I heard California is the second hardest exam.” I smiled and retorted, “funny. I thought New York was the second hardest.” According to an Above the Law article, bar results from the February 2016 administration of both the NY and CA exams were horrific, with only 32% of California retakers passing. You can see comprehensive statistics on the California State Bar website here.
The process of law school is a humbling one. The intense reading assignments coupled with the dreaded Socratic Method, not to mention the pressure of grades and extra-curricular activities, is enough to turn boys into men and certainly weeds out those who simply can’t cut it. But even after surviving law school, graduates soon learn that the Bar exam is a world unto itself.
Even in the best of circumstances, recounting on my own bar exam experience still makes me nauseas. And I know I’m not the only one. My father, who passed the bar over forty years ago would still prefer to talk about anything else on the planet than the nightmarish bar exam. One of my friends had to duck and cover under the exam table as there was a 5.4 magnitude earthquake during her exam in July, 2008. I have a cousin who is a successful Texas attorney. Most of our family is in California, though, and he has seriously considered relocating to California. However, the one major roadblock is that he does not want to sit again for another bar exam.
When I took it, I was 8 months pregnant with my first child. Despite having to deal with pregnancy-induced memory loss (which IS real) and all the other joyous symptoms associated with pregnancy while studying for the bar, I somehow passed on the first try. I will never forget the young man sitting in the row behind me, all the way against the wall. On the first day of the exam, he opened a bag of throat lozenges and every few minutes would open one and pop it into his mouth. The sounds of the wrappers crinkling and him sucking on the candies distracted everyone nearby. At the beginning of the second day, when the administrator read off the list of prohibited items to bring into the exam room, one gentleman said “this guy has candies and it’s bothering everyone.” The defendant proudly exclaimed that he was not eating candies, but throat lozenges, which fall under the medical needs exception. Then someone asked if he could please open all the lozenges at the beginning of the day so the room does not need to hear each individual opening and the defendant simply said “no, I don’t have to.” To this day, I’m sure he was trying to bring down the rest of us to his own benefit and I will always wonder if he passed.
In any event, passing the bar was a huge accomplishment for me on a personal level and I congratulate everyone else who passed, whether it was 40 years ago or 4 months ago.
When I was an undergraduate student at Boston University, my mother urged me on a regular basis to go study at the Harvard Law library in the hopes of meeting Mr. Right. Not only was I denied access to the library, but it turns out my future husband would be a finance guru, not another lawyer like yours truly. Now, Harvard Law is in the news, and not for any outstanding achievements. A recent AboveTheLaw.com article correctly chastises a current Harvard Law student for calling Tzipi Livni, former Israeli Foreign Minister and current Israeli Parliament member “smelly.”
At a panel discussion run by Harvard’s Program on Negotiation and co-sponsored by the Jewish Law Students Association and Harvard Hillel, the student asked Livni: “how is it that you are so smelly?” In response to curious looks all around him, the student attempted to clarify his statement by assuring everyone “oh, it’s a question about the odor of Ms. Tzipi Livni, very smelly, and I was just wondering.”
The Jerusalem Post, The Harvard Law Record and other news agencies are not releasing the name of this Harvard Law School student, fortunate for him, as it may kill any future job prospects. He has released a statement apologizing for his crude remarks.
Lawyer and legal writer, Julie worked primarily in real estate law before focusing her career on the social media and marketing aspects of the legal industry.