Runnin' Down a Dream
"Yeah runnin' down a dream
That never would come to me
Workin' on a mystery, goin' wherever it leads
Runnin' down a dream" -- Tom Petty, Runnin' Down a Dream
Earlier this week, on Monday night, the great singer Tom Petty passed away. I was sad to hear the news and it brought me back to an important memory in my journey to becoming a lawyer:
Back in high school and also in college, I had no doubt that I would graduate. In fact, I took it for granted. Law school was a different story though. I won't get into all the particulars in this post, but law school was a challenging experience -- on several levels, and not just on the strictly educational one -- and I wasn't completely sure that I'd graduate until only a day or two before the actual graduation itself. So, you can imagine the relief that I felt that day.
Earlier in the afternoon, just a short time before the graduation ceremony at the Liacouras Center, I had my mom, my dad, my sister, and two of my good friends over my apartment in Center City to celebrate the occasion before heading up to campus. As I recall, we each had a beer or two and we listened to some music as we pre-gamed before the ceremony. When it was time to head out, I asked everyone to go ahead of me; I wanted to walk up Walnut Street to catch the subway up North Broad, kind of a symbolic last commute on my own to Temple.
After my family and friends left my apartment, but before I headed out, I remember playing two songs that really defined the moment for me. One of those songs was Runnin' Down a Dream by Tom Petty. The lyrics, though simple, really captured the feeling that I had at that moment: the feeling that I'd 'run down a dream' by graduating from law school and nominally become a lawyer, while at the same time looking ahead to 'running down the dream' of actually being a lawyer by helping real people in real-life situations.
The song brought tears of joy and gratitude to my eyes back then. And because of the personal significance to me, it still often does today. In fact, looking back on it now, it was very likely the happiest day of my life up to that point (until the day my daughter was born a number of years later). I'm still grateful to this day that I made my dreams come true by becoming a lawyer. I hope that many or even most of my clients know how grateful I am to be their lawyer. And as I continue this journey every day, I can say I'm "goin' wherever it leads . . ."