I am less than 5 weeks away from the Tennessee State Bar Exam. Actually, according to my online bar prep website, I am exactly 33 days, 11 hours and change away from the exam. If this ominous countdown clock is supposed to get my adrenaline pumping, let me point out that I stay home with a two year old who spends a good part of the day base-jumping off the couch, trying to perform dental exams on our dogs, and has the digestive fortitude to poop, on average, 5 times a day whilst her potty hatred grows and grows. So, yeah, 33 days away isn’t even something that really registers to me.
But this is neither hubris nor Zen. I just lost certain pieces of my brain over the past few years, and one of these pieces is responsible for long-term planning / committed preparation. I’m not historically incapable of this. I ran a marathon at 20, and have in fact prepared for and passed two other state bar exams. Not monumental or unique achievements, though surely demonstrative of my sticktoitiveness. But, as it were these days, I finally rallied to take down the Christmas tree yesterday. And my longest term goal is to mop my floors before all of the grandparents show up this weekend for a visit. (Note: it really just occurred to me that it is Thursday. Gah! Visitors punctuate what is normally merely MonTuesFriSunWhatevday to me.)
Why am I taking a third bar exam? Well, my other bar admissions don’t count. So I am doing it because if I want to practice law, I must. And I’m at least not sure I don’t want to practice law. I am really sure that I have a mountain of student loans that gets paid out of my husband’s earnings each month. [It doesn’t feel like his money when I’m grocery shopping, but when it’s to throw hundreds of dollars at a debt incurred to pursue a career that I did not pursue, then it really does.]
Will I pass? This is a real question for me. Channeling a former self I think, yeah, I can always get it together in the end. But then there’s today-me. Me who has the attention span and memory of a gnat. Me who is basically illiterate unless the book involves pop-up surprises, curious non-human primates, or hopping on pop. I am a little worried. I’m glad I stopped believing in Descartes’s definition of a human awhile back, because if thinking was what defined my existence, I would be vapor.
Boring as the preparation is, it is also a good workout for my non-mom side. When I go to study, I try to wear clothing not (yet) streaked in lentil soup and kiwi juice. I pack an elaborate set of markers that will be used for notes and flash cards – not stolen and used to vandalize my IKEA showroom of a house.
So in 33 days, I guess we’ll see if two Rachael’s can coexist, or if mamma-me strikes the death blow to lady-lawyer-me. I am accepting bets. And donations. And pats on the head. And hugs.