I haven’t talked much about my bar exam preparation work so far, so I guess I should say something about it. Thus far it has gone ok but not great. I’ve made it to most of the BARBRI classes but have not done so hot at my bar prep studying routine out of class. The material honestly isn’t that hard but there is so much of it and it is somewhat laborious to cover it all and to stay mentally engaged, particularly when life is going on so rapidly around you.
Mostly I guess my main problem has just been in keeping a positive mental attitude through it all. Depression has been hitting off and on ever since graduation time and I’ve really had a hard time staying in track (particularly when the BARBRI classes are conducted in a dungeon-like basement room in which everyone is packed in like sardines… not really a good vibe to be in when you are already down). Anyway I’ve complained enough. The truth is that much of my perception of things is shaped by my mental outlook, and the truth is that my life is a pretty good one and I shouldnt complain so much.
A few things have helped during this time — bicycling has honestly done more to preserve my sanity and happiness than just about anything else. It is a strange thing, but being on my bike is almost a meditative thing for me. No matter how crazy things are, things aren’t so crazy when the world is moving by at about 10 mph. I’ve also found a lot of help from what I’ve been reading (lots of reminders that the world is still a good place, particularly in Wendell Berry’s writings), and from good conversations with friends and family.
Faith has also been an anchor, but also a challenge. My communal faith life feels very good, but my private faith life does not feel as healthy as I would like it to be. I yearn for the emotional kind of heart-felt faith of my more charismatic days, yet I don’t want to have a faith that is blind to the genuine suffering of the world or that is intellectually dishonest. Evangelical faith practice feels to me to be more emotionally and psychologicaly satisfying and comforting, but non-evangelical faith practice feels more honest, genuine and true. I want both of those dynamics but I don’t think that is possible right now, and I mourn that realization.