I’m writing from the Seattle-Tacoma airport after a 3-day conference where I gave a short talk entitled “Getting Hurt Is Not As Bad As Not Getting What We Got Hurt Going After.” The title was long enough to fill up most of my allotted 20 minutes just by saying the title. The past few days involved the usual pushing my limits—working on time-sensitive law school stuff until 2am the night before my flight, realizing I had to get up at 4am to catch my flight and that sleeping would mean not waking up in time, deciding to make coffee and eat breakfast and pretend like it was the morning, finishing the book I was reviewing for the conference on the flight, missing sleep the next night to write my review to deliver it the following morning. (It swells my heart with pride to be able to pull this off, which is unhealthy, both for the exhaustion and the pride. Mental note: David, revisit this concern in your 40s.)
I got some great news the day of the talk! I received a phone call to schedule an interview with the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service regarding my application for fellowship support for my unpaid summer internship with a Boston-based nonprofit developer called The Community Builders. This phone call means I’m on the short list (yessss), which is encouraging already whether or not I survive the next round. The editing power duo of my wife and Maura Kelly from the Career Development and Public Service Office in the tower helped me put finishing touches on my personal statement, and just between you and me, should I succeed in the end, I’m sure it’s them not me.
Last semester, when I interviewed for The Community Builders, we gave our fair share of attention to affordable housing development and finance. Then we somehow moved to summer activities for families with young kids; then to the annual Life is good Festival in Boston, which the interviewer and I had attended with our families in the past; then to recent headliner Ziggy Marley’s theme song for the cartoon Arthur. This particularly enjoyable interview reminded me that after 1.5 years of law school my area of expertise is definitely reggae music. I find interviews to be a lot of fun. Seriously. They tend to take unexpected turns and involve a laugh or two, as well as a few intense moments where I feel very connected to the goals I’m working toward with my degree. And you might guess from this blog that, OK, yes, I do like talking about myself.
The day after the talk (today) I got some bad news. My undergraduate friend Meghan, whose past few days involved hospice and lots of reflection, died from cervical cancer a few hours ago a few decades too early. She was reassuring the friends and family around her and making them laugh until the end. I’m sad about it and writing helps. But also something in me prompts me to honor her, and Andrew who died from colon cancer last year a few decades too early, and others, with optimism and focus and hard work. We can add to the momentum of so many people who have committed all of their strength to be able to say: we never gave up on what this world could become.