By Veronica Orozco @verozco
Translated by Juliana Achury (Craftisan Translations LLC) firstname.lastname@example.org
Your destiny, your calling, your vocation, “the plan God had for you.” Choosing what to do with your life is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever have to make – also having kids or not, and eating carbs after 4 pm – and nevertheless we often make that decision without giving it a thought. Just like it happens when having kids or eating that hamburger at 3AM.
I though about my true calling for exactly one minute. Literally. While I was waiting to buy the University’s enrollment form to study Economy – for this I have to blame the best teacher I had in 13 years of school because her subject was named precisely like that, Economy – I thought: what about Law? And I bought that form. It took me a minute to decide the thing I was supposed to do for the rest of my life. What if the admissions lady saw me choosing my food at a restaurant?
Not even 18 years old and I had decided to be a lawyer for the rest of my life. Too much Ally McBeal messed with my head. And so my dream became getting to court wearing pointy high heels, tailored suits and pencil skirts, and carrying a suitcase full of case-winning documents that would always bring victory to my clients.
And then real life happened. Five years of every day 6 am class -no exception-, never-ending readings of heavier-than-myself books, oral exams, coffee overdose, cigarettes bought one at the time and all-nighters devoted to analyze hypothetical cases filled with variables. Not to mention that Colombian courthouses look NOTHING like TV courthouses, neither do the judges, colleagues or the implementation of law, nothing.
I convinced myself that it was the thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life even if deep down I wasn’t so sure. It could be that my mother’s voice saying how happy my deceased notary grandfather should be in heaven looking how one of his grandchildren carried on his legacy was louder than my own. Or that I cared more about overhearing my dad’s tipsy- voice one night while he was telling my older brother how much prouder he felt of me over my siblings for studying what he always wanted to study.
I finished my classes, took the preparatory exams and wrote my thesis. And I graduated, got a professional license and got a job as a lawyer. And I started going to the courthouse, but wearing flats because I had to ride a bus, and boo to the tailored suits and pencil skirts. Also my client was a bank that was foreclosing houses from people defeated by the UPAC system And nothing felt right. Nothing.
But it was what I studied. I could have chosen something else, but I chose this one. This is the end of the story that I started writing the minute I bought the Law School form when I was 17. And I lived for over ten years taking the responsibility for my choices over the happiness of my heart. I believed I didn’t know anything else to make a living and I looked down as pure “hobbies” the delightful tasks that filled my soul; like writing.
It was only after I decided to get a divorce –the hardest thing I’ve ever made up to this point- that I understood that life is not written in stone. There is no master plan in heaven dictating what we’re supposed to do. We are our master plan and we act on it every single day. I woke up one day, and understood that the unhappiness of being a lawyer and the uneasiness that plagued me every morning before leaving for the office was probably one of the determining factors in the end of my marriage. And also, in the passing on so many other opportunities. Then I chose my happiness over my duty. And I thanked Law School for everything it gave me through many years, and we said goodbye so I could start writing a new story. A story in which at thirty-something, I feel like choosing all over again the college’s admission form, but I’m no longer a child and now I know that I can change the end of my story as many times as I want.