By Rachel Bussett
Happy New Year everyone!!!
The new year is such an exciting time for me. It’s a time when everyone is making promises to themselves about a new beginning and new adventures. It’s like opening a new notebook with 365 blank pages to write your life story.
Honestly, every day is a new day and you can start over again at any time, but there is something about the new year that makes starting over a little easier. Maybe it’s because it’s a time when everyone is doing it. Maybe it’s because it’s an annual new beginning. Regardless there is something magical about the new year.
I really stopped making resolutions but I do set goals for myself each year. Changing habits are hard and I never really follow through with resolutions for going to the gym daily or foregoing fast food. No matter my intentions those aren’t realistic expectations with my lifestyle.
But goals, at least in my mind are something that are attainable, something to work toward or achieve. 4 years ago as I was going through a very rough time in life that goal was very simple but also very hard – choose happy.
What does that mean to choose happy? Why is this an important goal? As I was going through this time in my life a friend told me “Rachel you can be right or you can be happy. You have to choose one.” My response was “well I want to be right AND I want to be happy.” But the more I thought about this concept and tried to put it into practice the more I learned that wasn’t always so.
You see as a lawyer my job is to be right, to win, to give the right advice, the right answer at the right time to the right people. Being right all the time is a very heavy burden. Can I tell you about the anxiety that comes with always having to be right? It’s HARD!!! So in my personal life where I have a choice, I choose happy.
I choose to forego fights when safety wasn’t a concern, even if I knew I was right, to be happy. I choose to give more than someone deserved or was entitled to on occasion because winning wasn’t the most important thing in the situation, but being happy was. I choose my sanity, my family’s happiness and even the easy path because a happy life was more important to than being right.
Now you may be asking yourself – what does this have to do with the law Rachel since this is a legal column. Well my answer is this same concept applies to the law and legal disputes too. Is this weekend your visitation time but your ex hasn’t seen the kids in 3 weekends because of how the holiday visitation falls – well you can be right and enforce your time or you can be happy and thankful for the time that you have had and give them a chance at happiness to in spending time with your child.
Are you in a dispute with someone over a contract but when you really analyze the situation everything came out ok because it leads to a better opportunity? You can choose to be right and hire a lawyer to prosecute the breach of contract claim or you can choose to be happy and accept the new opportunity that came out of the failed agreement. I can cite these examples ad nauseum to discuss weighing the options of happy and right in a legal context.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t reasons to deny visitation, enforce a contract or hire a lawyer, but there are times when you have choices – right or happy. When hiring a lawyer the right one should consult with you to determine if it’s better for you overall financially, emotionally, in business and in life to choose right in enforcing the rights or choosing happy and moving on. You see just because you can do something like filing a lawsuit doesn’t always mean that you should do it.
The lawyer shouldn’t just see you as an opportunity to advance their career or to win big in court. The lawyer should view you and your situation and help you determine the proper path for you to follow with all your legal options.
I hope that 2019 is amazing for each of you and that you take the time to consider whether right or happy is best for you in all your choices. I also hope that you succeed in your goals and resolutions to make the best life that you can.
Rachel Bussett is an Oklahoma City attorney. She can be reached at 405-605-8073 or Rachel@BussettLegal.com