Thought Catalog
April 6, 2015

Go Ask Lev #10: The Meaning Of Life (And Law School)

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Legally Blonde
Legally Blonde

1.

Hi Lev,

I’m looking for advice on trying to be happy in law school. (it’s the worst! and a trap!) Any words of wisdom? Any great songs I should be listening to to get me through? 

Thanks. You rock. 

-Emma

***

Hi Emma,

I know nothing about Law School, and remain, at best, skeptical about laws in general. However, knowing nothing has never stopped me from commenting before and it won’t stop me now.

Here’s my guess: Law School is hard, right? Focused. Obsessive. Sharpened and angled to a direct point. Everything is a competition, grades actually matter, and the impossible, soul-crushing attitude of competition leaks into everything. Fun is a weakness, and every moment spent away from work carries a guilt. Paradoxically, you hate work and learn to fear it, avoid it. 

The more you worry, the less you enjoy and the less you get done.

I’m guessing that’s how Law School works because that’s how I work — or used to work — as a freelance writer. It’s the nature of the competitive and anxious to obsess and Law School seems to be an arcane, adderall-popping Hogwarts of misery. 

Opt out.

No, not of school. You still want to lawyer it up, I imagine. But opt out of the misery and stress. It’s not going to make you a better lawyer or a happier person. Calm and balance are decisively untrendy in a competitive environment, but let’s say this works. Let’s say you work your ass off and become a lawyer. When do you relax. As a lawyer? Nope.

You’re going to be a great lawyer. But first, learn to be a person.

You have to learn balance and calm now. If you wait for a chance, you’ll never find it. The competitive and anxious among us keep in constant motion. You’ll always have an excuse or a reason to be miserable.

So, learn peace now. 

Also, as a side-note: if school has taught me anything, it’s that the gulf between learning and doing is so tremendous that the two are distinctly separated. Talent rises in the real world. Nobody ever asked Kanye for his GPA.

Concretely, you should be listening to a lot of Drake and Rihanna, both of whom balance ambition and swagger with emotion and reflection in the proper amounts. 

Good luck!

-Lev

2.

Hey Lev,

Man your articles on thought catalog are hella insightful, I agree with most of the stuff you pen down …you matter lev. I especially love the ones about you battling angst, very relatable.

My question …I read a study somewhere that suggests that the leading cause of death in the future will be depression (not really depression but depression related — suicide, acts of terror). What’s your take on that?

Thanks,

Derrick W.

***

Hi Derrick,

I’m not sure if depression will be the number one cause of death — that assumes medical improvement, world peace, and no climate related disaster- but it does raise an important theoretically point.

Namely, why is life worth living?

I’m going to answer this question that has plagued humanity since the dawn of time.

Ready?

It just is.

Really. We know it pretty fundamentally. Dogs know it. Bugs know it. Babies know it. All forms of living life tend to frown upon life ending, to be honest. It’s intuitive at a basic physical level.

But that’s not enough for people. People want philosophy, purpose, reasons and more.

They exist, but you have to build them yourself. Find them. Let yourself see through routine and move past fears to be the self of yourself that is worth selfing. 

Depression is powerful, tricky and dangerous because it’s strong, subtle, and tricky. It’s psychic poison that explains itself well. Or, rather, it avoids explanation. When you’re depressed or down you can’t fight through that fog. Worse, you don’t think you even want to. It takes constant vigilance, personal and communal, to care and cut through depression at its worst.

Depression is a disease, and should be fought. Happiness is worth pursuit, and depression is not the truth.

When we find a way to make that understood, Depression will be better fought both internally and externally, on a societal level.

I remain optimistic.

-Lev TC mark

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