President’s Message: New Year Challenge – Try Something New Unrelated to the Law
Anthony F. Sos, Esq.
The Briefs, January 2020 / Vol. 88 No. 1
Happy New Year from the Orange County Bar Association! In contemplating this month’s “President Message,” I mentioned to my wife, Rebecca, that I was considering writing about how to keep New Year’s resolutions. Her response: “You’re going to offer tips on keeping New Year’s resolutions? Ha!”
So, upon further reflection, I’ve decided to put a little twist on this common theme. As we embark on this new year, I am encouraging all readers (as well as this author), to consider picking up a new hobby wholly unrelated to the law. If the hobby happens to be enjoyable or helps facilitate quality time with family, then sticking to it shouldn’t be as much of a challenge as some resolutions prove to be.
I’ll give you an example. Although I played some tennis as a young person, Rebecca has recently picked up the game. Tennis is something she can pursue on her own; but it’s also something we have enjoyed doing together. We love going out on weekends or after work and hitting the ball around. It is great exercise, helps clear the mind, and gives us something to look forward to doing as a couple. We also have organized friendly mixed-doubles matches with other couples. It’s huge fun, and we embrace the challenge of improving our games. We figure that this is a sport we can play into retirement.
I happen to know that United States District Court Judge, the Honorable John Antoon, II also recently picked up tennis. Judge Antoon is 73 years old. Yes, he gave me permission to share this information. Although he is active in many other ways, he is trying new things. This inspired me. So, in preparing for this article, I asked him about his new hobby and his general thoughts on trying something new. During our discussion, he wisely said, “My belief is that new challenges are good for the brain and good for the soul.” When asked about tennis, he said, “Taking up tennis has been a fun challenge for me that came with an added dosage of humility.” In talking with him, he also commented that he is “deeply inspired by his wife who has an irrepressible joy for the wonders of life.” We all know Judge Antoon to be very thorough, so I was not surprised after our discussion that he sent over an additional quote from Pablo Picasso that read, “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”
I love hearing stories about people trying something new and then developing a passion for it. Take County Court Judge, the Honorable Eric Dubois, or an attorney at our office, Bill Tonelli. They are always finding joy and sharing new adventures about cooking on their Big Green Eggs. Heather Meglino recently started working out at an obstacle gym, and Barbara Leach started a cookie-baking side gig.
As I’ve already been playing, tennis does not count as a new hobby for me. So, to honor the spirit of my own message, I’ve decided on a new pursuit for the coming year. Here’s how it came about.
Without any prompting from us, our son has recently taken a keen interest in the piano, teaching himself to play. Excited about his new pursuit and wanting to encourage it, we surprised him with the new keyboard he wanted for Christmas. (I can say that now, since you’ll be reading this after the new year.)
Meanwhile, I had been trying (unsuccessfully) to encourage my son to learn to play chess. Chess is a hobby I enjoy, though, in all candor, I’m not very good at it. To my surprise, though, last week, my son finally relented. Being the son of a lawyer, though, he qualified his assent: “Okay, Dad, I’ll make a deal with you. I will learn how to play chess if you try to learn how to play the piano.” I could only laugh at the suggestion because, as much as I love music, it is not an area where I possess an iota of ability or talent. Still, I’ve decided to take my son up on the deal.
So . . . my “try something new” adventure for the new year is the piano.
Now, since I’ve publicly declared this undertaking, I expect some gentle prompting from you, my colleagues. The way I see it, being asked how my lessons are coming will be a gentle nudge, requiring me to account for how well I’m staying true to my new resolution.
I want to hear about your resolutions so I can return the favor. What adventure will you try in the new year?
Perhaps one of these will pique your interest:
guitar; hiking; mountain biking; Tai Chi; gardening; cooking; art; CrossFit; flower arranging; chess photography; volunteering (a great family activity); sailing; Jujitsu; creative writing; triathlons; book club; obstacle gyms; birding; astronomy; belly dancing; drawing; bowling; roller skating; fishing; Scuba diving; homebrewing
Too often, we let fear of failure or the unknown prevent us from trying something new. Put yourself in a vulnerable situation and accept this challenge. Win, lose, or draw, you will likely grow as a person and may find a new source of enjoyment, even if it comes with a strong dose of humility.
Anthony F. Sos, Esq., is a partner at Dellecker, Wilson, King, McKenna, Ruffier & Sos, LLP. He has been a member of the OCBA since 2005.