I've lived at work this week, and as far as I can tell, this will be my reality for the foreseeable future. I'm on a case that is heating up (boiling over may be more accurate!) The part that really surprises me is that, not only do I not mind, I'm actually enjoying it. I keep checking in with myself, "Do I feel put upon? Taken advantage of? Am I feeling mope-y?" And the answer is consistently "no." Part of it is that everyone on the team is putting in the same kind of hours, including the partner (and I respect him for it.) Part of it is that the work is really engaging me: I'm learning about a technology I know nothing about, and experiencing litigation from the inside.
Litigation reminds me of Austen-era social dancing: now you clap, then turn to the left: a complex etiquette guided by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as well as local rules, and the particular judge's standing orders in true reverse pyramid style. Notices, motions, briefs in support of, certificates of service, exhibits, appendices - it's a little Brazil-ian in its worship at the altar of "paper."
Those are the mechanics, archane and esoteric - baseball statistics traded between paralegals, secretaries, and associates. But, what I really like is the hustle. People are surprisingly efficient when time-pressed. Like an excited electron, we can suddenly operate on a higher level: more decisive and incisive, more straight-forward. Deadlines force a clarity of thought and purpose.
Knowing that I will be spending the next few weeks/months in Bauer-like intensity, I've started changing my life. You can go all-out for a week, but not for 6: I need to find ways to take care of myself. I'm spring cleaning so that I can minimize messiness at home and create a sanctuary. Because I'm now dedicated to one project, my schedule is, oddly, more flexible. I will work later in order to have an hour driving around with the sunroof open, or a quality date with the gym, or a really stellar glass of wine.