Retirement Redux

The retirement was finally done, at least, insofar as closing the office. I emptied six rooms, 900 square feet, of all evidence of my 40 years’ occupation and practice of law. All the old typewriters, printers, computers, desks, chairs, etc. that were so familiar and served me well – gone. It’s odd the sentiment and attachment felt for inanimate things. The books, OMG, the books, the foundation of my knowledge, the tools of my trade, although some were just for show. All gone. The contents of ten legal sized four-drawer metal file cabinets were emptied into large bins which, along with more than 40 legal-sized boxes of files, were unceremoniously hauled out and shredded. It’s impossible to describe the emotions, watching 40 years of life’s work dumped into a truck and shredded. All those hours, days, weeks and years of work, rendered into tiny disparate strips of paper. Maybe they’ll be recycled and reborn as Starbucks cups. Or maybe birthday and get-well cards, printed on the back: “Made from 100% recycled career of John C. Chappell, Attorney at Law.” Having my routine ripped out has been more of a shock than expected. Life used to be: get up, breakfast, drive to post office for mail, drive to office, work, work, work, drive home, supper, more work or, with luck, some family time, bed; repeat, repeat, repeat… The vacuum created by the loss of routine and familiarity has been a shock. Don’t miss the profession, though! Don’t get me started about why I’m so happy to put the legal profession behind me. I’ll just say, it’s not the profession it was when I entered it.

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