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How to Start Savoring Your Law Life

by Jay Reeves |

 When was the last time you truly savored a win in your Law Life? 

The type of win – a job promotion, a grateful client, a favorable case outcome – is irrelevant. As is the size. The printer is finally unjammed! I found my keys! It’s not Monday! Even small victories deserve to be savored.

So why don’t we do it more often?

Why aren’t we better at savoring the positive experiences in our Law Lives, instead of spending that time stressing and talking and worrying and strategizing and problem-solving and paying bills and making money and dealing with crises at home and moving through our days trying our best not to be fired, sued, or disbarred?

One reason is savoring takes time.

It is not something that can be done in a rushed, slapdash, or frenetic manner. You cannot fully savor an experience if you are too stressed to sit quietly or too preoccupied to think calmly. You must be present.

But the dividends include lower stress, enhanced creativity, and a surge in self-confidence, according to the latest brain science

I once knew a lawyer who seemed constitutionally incapable of savoring. This was back when I was a young man, with hair and ambition, and I shared office space in Charleston, SC with other sole practitioners. One of my suitemates was smart, aggressive, and always in a hurry. Whenever he won a case or got paid, he would celebrate by going out and getting roaring drunk, and then being cranky and difficult for days. Rinse, cycle, repeat.

That is not the right way to savor. Here are some pointers for doing it correctly:


Savory Law Life Tip #1: Success breeds success.

When we savor the joys, victories, and unexpected delights in our lives, we plant the seeds for future wins. Shouting Yes!!!! to the heavens after a good day in court, high-fiving a stranger on the way home, treating ourselves extra well, dancing to Ratatouille. We’re programming our brains for future success.


Savory Law Life Tip #2: Surround yourself with reminders of good times.

That way you can keep savoring them. Brain studies show that looking at pictures that evoke happy feelings enhances well-being and restores calm. Pro tip: authentic, old-school photographs have a much greater Savory Quotient than digital images. Polaroid Square Shooter pictures are the best.


Savory Law Life Tip #3: “Life is nasty, brutish and short.”

That quote is from English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, who looks like a man who would say such a thing.

We prefer Lubbock, Texas philosopher Mac Davis: “You’ve got to stop and smell the roses. / You’ve got to count your many blessings every day. / You’re gonna find your way to heaven is a rough and rocky road if you don’t stop and smell the roses along the way."


Savory Law Life Tip #4: Happiness can be practiced, like the violin.

Think back to a wonderful meal and family gathering. Recall the sensations: the delicious food, the exquisite aroma of your mother’s pecan pie, the happy chatter of loved ones around the table, the warmth of their physical presence. 

Simply conjuring such memories works wonders for the mind, body, and spirit.

Wise Words to Savor: “Even in the mud and scum of things, something always, always sings.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

10 Songs About Savoring Life: (1) Savr’y Gravy – Climax Blues Band; (2) Precious & Few, Climax; (3) This Magic Moment, Jay & The Americans; (4) Joy – Apollo 100 (5) Magic, Pilot; (6) Joy to the World, Three Dog Night; (7) Remember, Nilsson; (8) Memories – Elvis; (9) Sweet Old World – Lucinda Williams; (10) California Stars – Wilco.


Jay Reeves practiced law for nearly 40 years in North and South Carolina. He savors about 37 of those years, regrets a few, and is still processing one. He lives in Newberry, SC, halfway between Prosperity and Waterloo. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World. Contact jay@yourlawlife.com.

About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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