For the past two years, I have lived and worked within a half-mile radius of a pretty decent fitness club. Two years ago for Christmas, I asked my parents for a membership to that gym and made a New Year’s resolution to work out six days a week. Just like most of my previous New Years’ resolutions, this one didn’t last for too long. But I did discover I enjoyed the lunchtime group exercise classes at the gym.
I often end up using work or Bar association meetings as excuses to skip going to these afternoon classes. But the two or three classes a week that I do manage to attend have changed my life. My body, not so much. (I think that may have something to do with my strict diet of cheesesteaks, pizza, cheeseburgers and jalapeño poppers, the last of which is my serving of veggies.)
My gym is in the heart of Baltimore’s legal district — surrounded by skyscrapers filled with law offices and lawyers in dark suits carrying heavy briefcases. But none of my new friends and acquaintances have taken or plan to take the Bar exam.
It was at these classes I met someone from The Daily Record. I didn’t know her job title until months into our friendship. She invited me to a TDR event and introduced me to the editor of Generation J.D., which is how I started writing for this great blog. She also introduced me to an IT guru at TDR who in his spare time helped me understand and work on search engine optimization for my firm’s website.
This newspaper’s audience development coordinator also attends these lunchtime classes. Thanks to her, I was able to organize a wonderful networking event co-sponsored by The Daily Record and the Bar Association of Baltimore City. A well-respected local judge’s wife is a regular at these classes as well. She recently invited me to her holiday party, where I mingled with Baltimore’s finest judges, partners at some of the biggest firms and heads of city agencies. Networking heaven!
After two years of working out and engaging in locker room gossip with the same group of people, word got out that I am a personal injury attorney. Members of the gym that have been involved in unfortunate car accidents have sought my legal advice and retained me as counsel.
My long-winded point is, you never really know where you will make friends and professional connections, or get clients or even a new job. You never know how an activity you sign up for will enrich your life. That monthly bill may not get you the exact services you bargained for but it may get you something priceless, something you couldn’t pay for even if you wanted – your own little diverse cohort.
Being several oceans apart from the network of family, friends, and neighbors with whom I grew up, I enjoy how easy it is to start life over again in this country, even if you don’t live in Smalltimore.
I hope you enjoyed the holidays with your nature-made and self-made families and are more successful at sticking to your New Year’s resolution than I!