By Mark David Blum, Esq.
The time is approaching for me to start the next great adventure of my life. Over the course of the last fifty years, I have travelled many paths, engaged in some fascinating once-in-a-lifetime experiences, been to the top of the world and the bottom of the abyss. Now that I am finishing my duties as a parent with my youngest soon to be moving out and starting her own life, the question is begged … “what’s next?”
Obviously I can keep doing what I have been doing for the past 20 years. I can stay a local lawyer and continue to do a bang up job for those who hire me. I can live in the same place and just do more of the same. It is a good life; peaceful and complete. I get to do the work I love and fight the good fight.
At the same time, I have ants in my pants and a craving to put my skills and expertise to another use. I do not want to leave the law but as I tell students when I give school presentations, the law is just a means to an end. I advise them that as a lawyer, the options are as wide and varied as is their imagination. As a lawyer, a person can be a small business owner, part of a large company, go into whatever industry or whatever environment they desire.
Of late I have been consulting with my notorious brain trust. I have raised this issue with all my closest friends seeking their input and thoughts. What I usually get back are blank stares and empty words. A person’s life is one of their own making and nobody can tell you what to do with your life. One’s suggestions are void of meaning because the choices a person makes must come from within. I probably wouldn’t listen anyway.
Comedy has been a life long love of mine. It is one of the things that would be on a bucket list; if I were to have one. Standing on a stage with a captive audience is why I love doing trial work. Making people laugh instead of cry could be much more satisfying. My career and line of work gives me an endless supply of material. Ask me sometime about the guy who loved his motorcycle more than his “left nut”.
Of course I could also move into politics. Being a judge or D.A. or even Mayor would be an honorable profession. Such a job would be fulfilling and perhaps even fun. The major downside is that a life in politics would require living under a microscope. I am not so sure I am willing to give up all my privacy and liberty to live a life in the public eye. The Mayor of Manlius cannot even search for returnables in recycle bins without having youtube footage posted on the internet. But I can tolerate anything for a while.
I saw on the internet an organization called Lawyers Without Borders. I assume it works on the same principal as Doctors Without Borders. It might be a fascinating experience to go to Afghanistan or elsewhere and work with locals on building a legal system and training folks to work in the law. As a Jew, I am sure they would roll out the welcome mat for me in the Middle East.
Then there are organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center where my training and life experience in addition to my legal experiences could be of value. Working on projects for the greater good of all would be challenging and rewarding. Whether they would have me is a different question but just in thinking aloud, doing so would be very satisfying.
Repeatedly over the years I have publicly advocated for a County Public Defender. I could build Judge Tormey a world class Public Defender's Office here in Onondaga County. That would be a wonderful legacy.
Religion is always another option. I am a duly ordained minister of the Universalist Church as well as the Church of Dude. No, I am not registered as a minister with any government. I do however, have my credentials. I could start a Church. Heck, how about a new religion.
For the past twenty years I have been a trial lawyer. That path has taken me from working on cases involving nuclear power plants to swanicides. Though I have mastered no single industry I have dabbled in and learned about many. What I have learned to do best is to find solutions to problems.
But for now, I still have time. It is still a year before my youngest moves on. I have a year to hunt around and ponder the possibilities. The only limits I have are those I set for myself. Where I am experiencing difficulty is in making the decision. Maybe I should try them all. Being but a mere lad of 50 gives me plenty of time.
Oh, and if you have any good ideas, I would love to hear them.