Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

The joys of giving back

You don’t often hear a young lawyer say she feels blessed. The billable hours, the late nights, the stress, the stakes… “blessed” just isn’t usually in the job description.

And yet, it’s important from time to time to get a reality check. We are blessed. This holiday season is as good of a time as any to remember that.

A few months ago, I was nominated by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as one of the 35 finest professionals in the Baltimore business community under 35 years of age.  By accepting the nomination, I agreed to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

I counted on guilt-tripping people into donating, sending multiple emails (bordering on harassment), creating Facebook posts and attending “meet and greets,” cocktail parties and informational sessions. I counted on hard work and a big commitment. What I did not count on was how much joy I would find in this process or how blessed I would feel.

I also didn’t count on the number of people, some of whom I don’t even know, who would donate to my page. I didn’t count on how many people and local businesses would volunteer to help me reach my fundraising goal. I have journeyed through this experience in absolute amazement of the goodness and selflessness in people.

A few weeks after receiving my nomination, I started reading about cystic fibrosis. I learned CF is a disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of nearly 30,000 children and adults throughout the country. I learned people suffering from CF have an average life expectancy of almost 37 years.

It’s daunting to me, at age 29, to think about an average life expectancy of 37. To think that, if I had CF, I could hope to have about 8 years left was a reality check. It made me appreciate my health and, strangely, not feel so bad about the billable hours, the late nights, the stress, the stakes…

As lawyers, it’s important to give back, to get involved, to donate and to volunteer, not only for those less fortunate and in need but also for ourselves. In a culture that focuses on the negative, it’s important to remind ourselves that there are still good people in this world. It’s also important to remember that there are things far worse than being a young associate, even though it doesn’t always feel that way.