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In Family Law, Life Is For The Living

2015 is here. It is upon us.  Heck, it's even four days gone already.  Only 361 days to go.  That realization makes me think a little off the chain about the practice of family law.

If you are like most folks I talk to, myself included, you wonder where last year went.  It certainly went by so quickly. So if 365 days can go by so quickly, you know 361 will go that much faster.

So, in 361 days, where do you want to be?  In 361 days, who do you want to be?

One thing's for sure, you aren't getting any younger. (Could I use any more cliches?) It's a good bet that your days, however plentiful they are, will rush by just like the 365 of last year and the 361 left in this year.

I guess I'm saying that today is the first day of the rest of your life. (Yes, I guess I can use more cliches.) So how will you spend/use the rest of your life?

Tonight, I'm following up on the theme from my collegue David Purvis who wrote on this blog a few days ago about family law and making a resolution to fish or cut bait. If you resolve to fish, you are going to have to put your line in the water. Just remember that it takes two to tango and, while you can lead a horse to water, you can't make him drink.

If you are going to cut bait then go in with both eyes open and keep both eyes on the prize.  (Ok.  Enough with the cliches.) The prize here is moving forward with your life, moving forward with dignity and character, and moving forward in a manner that will help you be happier. 

Knowing whether to fish or cut bait is and must be exceptionally personal.  There are so many variables such as just how much torture can you take and just how much are you willing to endure? 

Both of those questions are answered differently depending upon how you perceive your circumstance.  Torture and endurance certainly conjure up prison camps, enhanced interrogation techniques or just another sporting weekend at Dick Cheney's fun house.  But you could perceive torture and endurance positively, and not be fairly off in doing so.  You could view these terms in an exercise context.  No pain, no gain.

So is your relationship like a prison camp or is it like a health club? Are you getting beaten down or are you becoming stronger, healthier, challenged to do the hard work so that you can grow?

My uncle Tom says that families are hard. (Perhaps that tells you something about my family.)  There are some family members who just make being in relationship too hard. There are others for whom the positives outweigh the negatives and therefore the negatives can be perceived as positives, opportunites to enhance and deepen the relationship, opportunities to grow.

Some very astute readers will call me on espousing conditional love. I suspect their accusation is well founded. We can attempt to rise to an Agape level and love everyone, but that is ethereal and universal and practiceable only with distance between the the grantor and the grantee.  Even Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. knew that, while they should love their enemies, they didn't want to have those enemies muck up the tenderest moments with loved ones.

So, your invitation into your heart, into your tenderest moments can and should be reserved for those who reciprocate in a manner that you allow, admit and acknowledge. Your love, here, is conditional. 

We all know that only things in balance are sustainable. The night is inseparable from the day. The yin only exists with the yang. Sonny had no reason to exist without Cher.  Am I right?

Find the space; give yourself license to take stock of your circumstance, whatever that is right now. And call your question, however that question may be called. Perhaps the desperado within you has been out riding fences.  Of course, over time, that only leaves splinters in the most uncomfortable of places.

If you are on a fence, come down from it.  If you are dangling your fishing pole, is trout on your menu? If you are carrying that weight, what's it going to be? Will that 16 tons put you six feet under or or is it really pumping you up?  

Make that call.  However you choose, the clarity from your chosen perceptions and the actions you take because of it will only make you happier.

Good luck!  We're all counting on you.

Michael Manely

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