Friday, October 22, 2010

Today is my Birthday

Today is my birthday.
I can’t eat. I can’t sleep. I can’t think normally.
My mind is so boggled. Today I am officially in my thirties. Yes, the big 3-0. I can no longer check “20-29” in the age category for surveys and registration forms. I am no longer in my roaring 20’s. I can no longer act juvenile. I must have some direction, some sense of purpose and know where I am going in my life.
I usually don’t write personal posts, in my other blog or on here...but here goes…
I thought about how hard it has been to be a poor paralegal, but I need to move on with my life. I am proud to say that I finished college at 23; I worked hard and helped out my family. My mother is a widow and I am the only son so I help out my family as much as I can.  I am working 2 jobs part time to make ends meet and it has been hard. Not being fully employed is very hard on your self esteem. I have decided to list the thirty most important things I have learned on the way to turning 30. Here goes….

30.   People need you to understand them more than they need you to agree with them. Not everyone will share your personal and/or professional views. There is no one “right” way to view things. Whether you are on the inside looking out or the outside looking in, someone is always looking..
29.   You must always set goals: Personal and Professional, both Short term and long term. I graduated without a job after doing my paralegal internship but now I am moving on and doing what I have to do to survive. You must ask yourself where you will be in the next 1, 5 and 10 years.
28.   You need to set boundaries in the work place. You are not there to talk about your sexual escapades or high school/college reunions that have a striking resemblance to Girls Gone Wild. Websites such as “Facebook” and “Myspace” can be very dangerous, because you are mixing your personal and professional life. It’s called “Work”, you go to work, and you are there to work because…it is WORK!
27.   You can’t always have the best of everything. You can’t always drive the most expensive car, wear the fanciest clothes or go to the most prestigious college/university. You need a certain level of humility to realize that the reality for the privileged few is not the reality for everyone. Strive to be your best, but know that the compensation is more than just monetary rewards.
26.   People are like elevators. They either take you up or down. When you hang out with people who have no education, no goals and no direction in life, you become like that. Always aim for the top floor of the building..
25.   Trust is the foundation of any relationship. If you lose trust, then you pretty much lose everything. Losing trust usually means losing the relationship.
24.  People you love and care about will hurt you, make peace with it and move on.
23.    Never stop learning. Take a class at a local community college, or through adult education. Learn karate or self defense. Learn a foreign language or about a vocational opportunities outside of your current job. I’ve been doing this and it has really helped me learn about new jobs and opportunities. Plus, It keeps your mind sharp!
22.    Never lose yourself. Never get lost in a relationship, or a job, or something that consumes so much of your life that you forget about your own personal, professional, and future goals in life. Always put things into perspective.
21.    There is no such thing as “easy money” Everyone works damn hard for their money. Whether it’s a janitor, waiter, lawyer or doctor…everyone works for every penny they earn.
20.    Time is an investment. Time is money. It’s better to waste money than it is to waste time, you can always get money but you can’t get more time.
19.     Join a professional organization, any organization. Even if you just graduated college, join a professional group that meets once a month. Meet professional people, make contacts, you may find a new job, make some new friends and find a whole world of opportunities.
18.     Expand your horizons personally and in your social network. In school you had parties and clubbing gets old fast (especially after 25)! Make friends of all age groups, cultures, occupations and get active. Try a new restaurant once a month, go to a museum in your city, or volunteer at a nonprofit one day a month.
17.     You must set goals for your professional objectives. What degree do you want and when do you want it by? When will your business start? How much do you expect to earn the first year? I work 2 jobs and I am training for a new career outside of law. You must look to the future. Dead end jobs will drive you mad!
16.    My family and friends are the most important people to me. I have learned to cherish those relationships and keep the relationship alive. Even if I can’t see them as often as I would like, give them a phone call (no e mails!), send a gift, and remember their birthdays!
15.   You have to be civil in the work place. The real world is not kind and you can’t act like a maniac or let your emotions get to you. Even if you get fired or laid off…don’t take it personally! You must be kind to your boss, send thank you letters to co workers and keep good references. When the next job interview comes around, bad karma will bite you in the @$$ if you aren’t civil!
14.    I am capable of independence and not relying on anyone else financially but myself.
13.    You must take care of your physical health. I try to go to the gym 5 days a week and I don’t view it as a chore. You must think “eating, sleeping, drinking…exercise!” It is also a great way to relieve stress!
12.    You must take an active effort in your personal finances. No one taught you how, but you must learn on your own! I am on over 300 money saving websites (no joke), I learned about taxes, how to buy a car, a house, manage credit and invest wisely through years of active effort. Read business magazines, go to the IRS offices to pick up information on taxes, read The Wall Street Journal every day or just do something.

11.    The day you turned 18, the “but my parents never taught me how to do this or do that” excuse was officially expired. You will be tried as an adult in local, state and federal courts. You are an adult, so now you must act like an adult.

10.      Always learn from your past, but don’t live in your past. People can always change for the better.

9.      Don’t be afraid of change, such as starting a new job, go back to school or move to a new city. Its only hard the first day you try it, then it comes naturally.

8.     Low self esteem gets you nowhere. If you take yourself seriously, everyone else will take you seriously!

7.     You must maintain a spiritual void, believe in your faith, get active in your house of worship or do something for your spirituality. It makes every day a LITTLE bit easier.

6.     Taking care of your health comes in many forms: Your physical health, financial health, emotional health, social health, healthy relationships and a healthy work-life balance.

5.    Never hold grudges. Let it go, don’t stress too much and move on with your life. You will have enough to deal with once you get a mortgage.

4.   I have learned to become more comfortable in myself as person and I am happy in my own skin.

3.   Always be cautious before comfortable, when doing anything in the public sphere.

2.   Love is not about what we get; only what we give and that is everything! Just because two people love each other does not mean that they should be together.

1.   Some years of your life are the questions and some years of your life are the answers.

That’s all for now, but I will try to enjoy my birthday and I hope all of you have a great weekend!
Carpe Diem!

-The Poor Paralegal


  1. Found your blog randomly - happy birthday! I really liked the list, some very good reminders that I needed.

  2. I loved this list especially about people being elevators, so true

  3. Women really hit their stride in their 30s, anyway. Keep this blog rolling, and keep knocking the hell out of the legal industry.

  4. You write so well poor paralegal, and I sometimes wonder if you really are a paralegal or an unemployed JD. You have such a unique way of expressing things. I love your blog, your insight and these 30 life lessons are so true!

  5. Happy Belated Birthday! I am about to turn the big 3-0 myself and also made the mistake of being a Paralegal too. Really good observations and tidbits of wisdom. Have you gone to some of the national legal staffing agencies (i.e: Update Legal, Robert Half Legal)?

  6. Happy Birthday,
    I really enjoyed this post.
    will keep reading it! Just found this blog too...

  7. Are you still updating this blog?