Focus On

Sure cure for Monday morning blues | Marcel Strigberger

Friday, August 20, 2021 @ 2:31 PM | By Marcel Strigberger


Marcel Strigberger %>
Marcel Strigberger
Lawyers retire and then what? Does retirement take the lawyer out of the lawyer?

I closed down from my 40 years plus litigation practice not long ago.  

My first notable change was the abated urge to meticulously read everything I would have to sign. Whenever I used to rent a car, I’d be the one holding up the line as I asked the clerk questions, such as, “What do you mean in point 48 by ‘the customer is responsible for’…”  

This urge has diminished. Were the document now to read, “Just sign on the line above where it says, Dr. Faustus,” I’d consider it.

I also find my patience has diminished. While in practice I typically spent hours parsing lengthy agreements. Now I am uncomfortable dealing with even the simplest of forms. I received a Canada census form recently and it troubled me to complete it even though it was their “short form” version. I needed a break after confirming the pre-populated information of my name, age and address. I felt like adding, “Hey, don’t bug me. I’m retired.” 

Bookkeeping is also an issue. Whereas I routinely was able to carry in my head a divorcing client’s detailed financial status, (as well as their spouse’s), these days review of my own simple checking bank account annoys me. Rather than review it monthly, I often tell myself, “It’s a bank; it must be OK.”

Then again, I played Monopoly with my granddaughter, and I drew the “Chance” card, reading, “Bank error in your favor. Collect $200.” This troubled me. After the game, I rushed to check my bank statement. But I still didn’t like doing it. I thought of life after death and just hoped that wherever I end up, they don’t turn me into a forensic accountant.

Which leads me to civility. I can proudly say that in over 40 years in the trenches, I never resorted to personal ad hominem attacks. Well, maybe as Gilbert and Sullivan’s Captain Corcoran said in HMS Pinafore, “Hardly ever.”

I note that though tempted to unload, I have been successful post-retirement in maintaining civility. I checked in for a flight once (pre COVID-19 of course) and though we had fee free luggage status rewards, the clerk said the “system” did not note this information and he demanded $60. He insisted I pay now and contact customer service later. I was livid. I was about to tell him where he can go. (I was thinking about that place I feared they may turn me into a forensic accountant). But after decades of exercising restraint to remain civil, while signing the credit card authorization, I just said, “Thank you sir. Unfortunately on this transaction I don’t see an option to leave a tip.”

Continuing legal education is another area of change. So long mandatory CLE annual hours. Now I can just learn what I please. I took a seminar on insurance changes just for fun. (Hey, I still care about access to justice.)

One speaker was over the top dull, incongruent and incomprehensible. He may as well have spoken in Middle Phoenician.

In the past I would have likely queried something like, “Sir, can you please explain that point again about “no coverage.” It sounds crystal clear, but I must be missing something.”

Now I just said to myself, “Hey, who cares? I don’t have to know this stuff anymore. I’m retired.”

People ask about how I spend my days. The better question is how I used to spend them. I used to stress come Sunday evenings, knowing Monday I had to jump into the lion’s den, the fire pit, or at times the 10-ring circus. I called the feeling the “Monday-morning blues.” Eventually I started getting the Monday-morning blues earlier on Sunday, and then progressively even earlier. Friday morning would arrive, and I’d feel good initially. Then I’d ruminate, “Hey, Monday is just 72 hours away.” I soon developed a Friday midday blues syndrome.

Approaching age 70 is not a good time to be agitated. I longed for the opportunity to be able to just do little simple things, like loaf. As Albert Einstein noted, “I have reached an age when if someone tells me to wear socks, I don’t have to.”

Actually though loafing is great, my lifelong passion was writing full time. As I was nearing age 70, I thought about that adage, “The best time to plant an oak tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is today.”

Was age an issue? I noted that Winston Churchill became PM, hitting the big time at age 66. And Col. Harland Sanders sold his first franchise while in his 60s. Even Stalin reached his prime as a senior.

I, of course, had a different product to offer than Churchill; and certainly different than Stalin. And at least my name wasn’t Harland.

I now follow my passion, having just launched my new book, Boomers, Zoomers and Other Oomers, A Boomer-biased Irreverent Perspective on Aging. It may be of interest to anyone who’s aged since starting to read this article. And it’s fun read any day of the week. (Plug done.)

Now getting up on Monday morning is a non-issue. Sometimes I forget what day it is. I just know it ends with the suffix “day.” That’s all I must know. Hey, I’m retired.

Einstein had it right. I am not talking about his theory of relativity. As I write these words, I have chosen not to wear socks.
 
Marcel Strigberger retired from his Greater Toronto Area litigation practice and continues the more serious business of humorous author and speaker. His just launched book is now available on Amazon, (e-book) and paper version by pre-release sale order. Visit www.marcelshumour.com. Follow him @MarcelsHumour.

Interested in writing for us? To learn more about how you can add your voice to The Lawyer’s Daily, contact Analysis Editor Peter Carter at peter.carter@lexisnexis.ca or call 647-776-6740.