Even if the economic consequences are horrendous, so what? If there’s any regret that I have in the last 40 years of my life, it is not doing what I truly love.
After seven years at Kay Hill, Stuart Dean scored the wet dream of law jobs: an in-house position. On his in-house salary at Bank of America, he’d bought a beautiful house and raised two beautiful daughters and had an overall beautiful life. In fact, with relatively regular hours at BofA, Stuart could take off at six to catch an hour of two of something he truly enjoyed—yoga.
But nineteen months ago, Stuart lost his job. He responded by becoming a yoga instructor. WTF Stuart?
“All I can tell you is that when you get older there are certain things that start coming to your mind that you can’t possibly explain or understand when you’re younger,” says Stuart. “It’s like trying to explain puberty to a five-year-old. The concept of now or never really does begin to hit you, and you realize: Well, wait a second if I don’t this now, I’m never going to do it. It’s not like oh geez I’ll do this when I retire. I’m 55. A lot of people retire at 55.”
Stuart’s five cents on the transition from lawyer to yoga instructor at 55:
1. Life for a lawyer who leaves the law is…better.
2. The hardest thing about being an ex-lawyer is…loneliness.
3. The best thing about being an ex-lawyer is…the freedom to think differently than a lawyer. There’s a tendency for lawyers to always think in terms of rules, and once you’re not in that box anymore, you can almost start ridiculing legal thinking in a way that when you’re playing that game you can’t. It gives you a distance from legal thinking and you can start analyzing legal thinking as an outsider. It gives you power over the law that you didn’t have before.
4. The primary misconception about ex-lawyers is…that they’re failures. That’s one thing that I’m grappling with. The biggest misconception is that something went wrong whereas I would say something went right.
5. The main difference between my life now and my life as a lawyer is… [he laughs] lack of stress! Time! Good God as you probably well know, a lawyer at a law firm or corporation or even for that matter a private practice lawyer—they are slaves to time.
Learn more about Stuart and his yoga practice by checking out his blog: http://hsiuhsin.blogspot.com/.