The Atlanta Lawyer April 2018 - Page 8

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE Il Dolce Far Niente Margaret Hughes Vath Georgia State University School of Law Ah, the sweetness of doing nothing. A common Italian idiom made popular by author Elizabeth Gilbert’s international bestselling memoir Eat Pray Love. In 2006, while Gilbert’s book was flying off the shelves and reportedly inspiring hundreds of people to embark on spiritual jour- neys, I was beginning a journey of my own. About a year after returning to my busy and demanding law firm practice after having a baby, “In our overscheduled and harried lives, is there even an opportunity to achieve a state of stillness, of calmness, of serenity?” I began to revisit my life and career priorities. It was then I made the exhilarating, but mildly terrifying, decision to make a dramatic change. In 2006, I moved away from a lucrative law prac- tice and into the less profitable, but immensely fulfilling world of academia. This type of drastic, tectonic shift isn’t always necessary, of course. Moves can, and possibly should, be made incrementally. Small adjust- ments in our mindsets and fine tuning in our actions are often the most effective and perma- nent ways to make positive changes in our lives. Perhaps infusing some time for “nothing” into our days is exactly what we need. In our overscheduled and harried lives, is there even an opportunity to achieve a state of stillness, of calmness, of serenity? Even for a moment? Let’s try. Unplug I require my now-teenage son to do this mul- tiple times a day, but I often forget to require it of myself. To be sure, unplugging from email, 8 April 2018