My first full year on Guam proved to be quite the roller coaster ride…or maybe several rides on the sling shot apparatus in Tumon. The highs were high – to the point that I wanted time to stand still; but the lows were always just around the corner and after a few months they became impossible to ignore. This year challenged me to the fullest in every aspect of my life – physically, emotionally, professionally…all of it.
2016 offered me some of the most incredible friendships and relationships I’ve ever known, yet it also, in true Guam fashion, took people away from me. I gave an honest effort to make the best of nearly every day of this last year, despite battling sporadic depression (I made that term up). When I was having a tough I made the conscious decision to not hide out and shut out the world- even when I was exhausted, I ran up lam lam, jumped in the ocean, and sought out my amazing friends. Whether they knew it or not, they showed up. Hard. And they got me through the lowest of the lows in 2016.
My professional life was challenging this year. I took the last few months of 2016 to seriously review what I was doing with my career and what it was doing for me. Practicing law on Guam, and continuing to prosecute family violence cases has been a great experience and I feel as though I have grown tremendously as a lawyer. I have met some fantastic judges and lawyers and have really caught my stride. But, I have also struggled with it a bit this year and found myself unhappy, stressed out all the time, and very quick to get agitated. And while I really do love the work, the work is not working for me, at least not for now.
The types of cases are tough in general but I have felt a void out here in my practice. One of the reasons I went to law school was to advocate for people, to be the person with them in the courtroom. I don’t get scared in the courtroom (I actually become more outgoing and alive) but I know that for most people, especially non lawyers and criminal defendants the courtroom is terrifying. I always wanted to be the person to comfort them, speak for them, advocate for them, and make everything a little less scary. My work is important, but I think I need to do something where I have actual clients, rather than continuing to represent the government.
So I quit my job. My last day was 12/30. Starting January 10, 2017, I will be working for the Public Defender, and I’ll be handling a juvenile caseload. Crazy, yeah?
Enough about work. Other challenges this year…physical. I miss my yoga studio. I have drank more in 2016 than I wanted to and that takes a toll on the bod. So yes, I’m going to be one of those people who resolves to be healthier in the new year.
I have been super “homesick” this year and have been struggling with not knowing when I’ll be back in the states, or even where “home” is anymore. Oh, and that terrible bio clock/people constantly asking why I’m not married and/or telling me I’m no spring chicken anymore thing… I’m gonna call bullshit on that one.
I’m writing this on a plane to Manila. I spent the last few weeks shutting down 2016 with a record 7 Christmas parties. I’ll be spending NYE in Boracay and then heading down to Siargao for some much needed surfing. Cloud 9, kids!
So here’s the deal: I drunkenly rang in 2016 at the Sheraton in Guam with some people I hardly knew, taking selfies with strangers. Despite the underlying “where the F am I and why am I here” thoughts streaming in the back of my mind, I had high hopes for the new year and the adventures that it would bring.
And adventures it brought, as well as surprises, good and bad. I never thought I’d be at a pub on an island off the coast of Perth watching Donald Trump win the presidency; I also never thought I’d meet two girls on the beach who immediately felt like family to me. I also got my best friend back not only in my time zone but in my neighborhood.
I made big, bold decisions and as scary as that can be, I’m ready for 2017.
Cheers, kiddos- see you on the other side.
Lindsey&maddy- thanks for inspiring me to incorporate the term “yikes” into my daily vocabulary ❤️ it just fits so well lately.