“There is nothing,” Socrates says to Cephalus in the Republic, “I like better than conversing with aged men. For I regard them as travellers who have gone a journey which I too may have to go, and of whom it is right to learn the character of the way, whether it is rugged or difficult, or smooth or easy”.
In the early centuries, when no one was sitting around watching people compete for millions on game shows or trying to get their ticket to Hollywood, I am told that a lot happened at the gates of the city. The elders of the city would sit and talk, Periodically, the young were allowed to join.
Jack LaLanne became known as the godfather of fitness. He believed in igniting change by promoting fitness. In later years, he was still performing amazing feats of strength for his age; sharing health recipes and pitching the benefits of juicing.
A study of his life shows that he was a “sugar junkie” who later became a chiropractor. Then, he focused on the human body and became a fitness guru, developing the first pulley machines for weight lifting. He opened Jack LaLanne’s European Health Spas and ultimately sold those to Bally Total Fitness.
I have given you an abbreviated version of who he was. Through the 50-70″s, he was known for his fitness TV show and positive attitude, where he and his wife would workout during the program. Even though I found out that he passed away at age 96, I was still surprised. He was one of those individuals who lived what he believed. It seemed that he would live forever.
Why am I writing a legal blog about Jack LaLanne? Well, I guess that I see a movement away from an attempt to learn from those who have traveled down the same roads before us.
They say that the practice of law is a young person’s “game”. Regularly, I see defense firms sending out their young associates to depositions. I sometimes smile at some of the objections or the fervor that is raised by these young lawyers. To some extent, I probably was a bit obnoxious when I was starting out. Come to think of it, probably several defense lawyers might put that tag on me now.
If you google “happiness as a lawyer” , you will find all kinds of topics including getting more sleep; practice what you enjoy; and even doing something else like being a lawyer/screenwriter. Unfortunately, even the practice of law is guilty of forgetting those who have done it all before and faced some of the same obstacles.
A lot of legal commercials pitch the concept of experience. I do think that experience is important. When you’re just starting out, you focus on energy and being that “young and hungry” lawyer that everyone is looking for.
I guess when I saw the passing of Jack LaLanne, I just thought that I had to stop and think about his focus in life. He was a ball of energy and obviously, a great example for what he was selling. There must be something about being able to swim from Alcatraz, back to the shores of San Francisco.
Maybe it will be a good reminder to pay attention to the experienced; To those who have been there before. In the field of law, there are fortunately still a lot of good lawyers, still putting on a suit and going to the office, who are up there in age but have good stories to tell about how to be more successful. It’s a reminder, in any work field, to search those out and not forget them.