Litigating cases takes stamina. Days may involve hours in depositions, settlement conferences, arbitration or trials. Nights may be filed with preparation, drafting or researching.
After a marathon mediation session last week, followed by a separate settlement conference that ended minutes before midnight (followed by an hour-and-fifteen-minute commute home), I longed for some quality time with my pillow and bed. During my drive, I envisioned going directly to bed and sleeping for many hours, even going as far as leaving a message for my wife (which she would get in the morning while I slumbered) asking her to take the kids to school in the morning, which is usually my responsibility.
Unfortunately, the mind of a lawyer is impossible to simply turn off and on. I finally got home on the wrong side of 1 a.m. and proceeded to walk the dog, riffle through the mail and re-tuck my sleeping kids into bed. I went to lay down but thoughts relating to my newly drafted agreement came to light; I literally ran out to my car to grab my bag so I could confirm that all of the provisions negotiated were part of the agreement.
After fully satiating my neurosis, I finally climbed back into bed only to realize I was now fully awake. I reviewed all of the day’s email that I missed and realized that a meeting had been scheduled for 8:30 a.m. the next morning. Knowing that I needed some rest before heading out to the office in less than seven hours, I still spent time reading in hopes that I would be able to shake off the ever-present, post-court/negotiation hyper-awareness I felt. I finally went to bed and awoke four-and-a-half hours later. I had the same level of anxiety and was still revved up, so I got the kids ready, got them on their way and arrived at the office before the 8:30 a.m. meeting. This has been my life since I celebrated the arrival of 2014 with Carson Daly on New Year’s Eve. Wake up, work, home, kids, work, sleep, repeat.
Fortunately, the cycle has relented. Unfortunately, my body/mind is still on this cycle of late nights and early mornings. Last year, after the completion of a very long and contentious arbitration proceeding, it took me a couple of weeks to break the cycle. I had to force myself to relax. Through a combination of exercise, cognitive attempts to relax, and social functions (i.e. happy hour), my stress and anxiety levels lowered to a fairly acceptable level.
I look forward to a weekend away from work, centered around time with my family and Peyton Manning’s attempt for a second Super Bowl ring.