My law school diploma is an unsalable asset I no longer need

I wish all young adults read it before they head off to college

I have a law school diploma I don’t need.

I was an inch from becoming an attorney. Something I don’t want to be. In fact, I reject the notion of being this one thing my entire life/ of locking myself up in one job/ profession.

I want freedom. I don’t want labels.

It’s a daunting thought that my law school diploma is a worthless piece of paper to me right now.

I can’t even sell it to anybody. It’s an unsalable asset.

The hours, effort and money invested in order to get this diploma were insane. I studied like crazy and it was an uphill battle to me. No easy points.

I’m almost afraid to think that those hours, effort and money could have been wasted.

I’m closer to the conclusion that they indeed have gone to waste.

10+ years. Actually closer to 15 with the time when I was apprenticing and swotting for bar exam at the same time.

Shitload of time! Wasted time.

I will never get back those hours spent on reading and memorizing all kinds of laws, provisions, files, pleas, lawsuits, contracts, ever!

I will never be 20-something again, ever!

I let all sorts of “important”, egotistic, jerky people treat me like shit. Certain professions have a surplus of such people.

I was told it’s just the way things are in this world. That in order to get to something I need to swallow that pill.

My parents will never get back their money. Money they thought was being well invested.

Could this waste have been avoided?

I guess it could.

If the society didn’t tell me what success is.

If the society didn’t brainwash me into believing that you need to pursue certain things and avoid others.

If the society let me search for my own definitions — of career, success, happiness, life, meaning.

If I had the freedom to choose how I will build my career.

If I hadn’t been pushed to picking this one thing in my late teenage years.

If I had more time to think.

If I hadn’t been sold on the most common lifestyle — the religion of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’.

If the adults I met on my path could have enjoyed the same freedom.

If the society had different rules.

Sure, I can tell myself that nothing was wasted. That everything happened for a reason.

That were it not for this law school I would have never… met/ done/ discovered (you name it). And that without my next step on that particular ladder something else would have never had the chance of happening.

But is this true? Or just my wishful thinking? The narrative I get to create after the fact to feel more at ease?

How can I ever know what would or wouldn’t have happened? What can I base this assumption on… except for thin air?

Some of it might be true but some might only be an illusion.

We don’t know (and will never discover) our other history. We will never find out what would have been. There is no possibility that we could conduct an A/B test — relive those years, but with a different scenario.

Even if some of the things in my life would have been unlikely had I not gone to that law school how can I say with certainty that different circumstances would definitely not produce similar outcomes?

Maybe we would have met in a shop instead of the classroom? Maybe I would have discovered that book through somebody else? Maybe I would have still moved to this city, but a year later or sooner?

How can I possibly know it?

I guess those are just nice stories we tell ourselves to get off the ground. Our survival instinct in action.

Whatever it is it has no power to overwrite our past. It can only make it more understandable. More bearable.

Mistakes will remain mistakes, wins will stay wins, losses will stay losses. Until… we come up with a different narrative. We, the meaning-making machines.

But I guess a waste of an insanely big chunk of time will never become a win. No matter what nice story we will tell ourselves. That’s the one thing we regret the most when we know our time has come to an end or that it’s too late.

For me it was not too late. I live on. I hustle on.

And if I’m lucky enough to live 60 more years… I guess I will need no other story than the one I’m writing right now myself. My regrets will pale in comparison with my wins.

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- Lukasz