In the years since, growing through the ranks of big law, she and her husband acquired the trappings of a privileged life: A large home in an old Dallas neighborhood, and all of the luxuries that a family of four could dream of.
However, the Bridges family wants to give it all up.
“My heart is full now. I just sort of felt empty before, and I couldn’t put a finger on it,” says Bridges, noting that she blamed her 60 to 70 hour workweek and thought she was just tired, overworked or burnt out.
“I was just missing the point,” she says.
Bridges and her husband, Stephen, did some soul searching and now they’re focusing their time and money on the top priorities they identified in their lives: family, friends and health.
“We are more present with our kids. The less stuff you have to take care of, the more time is opened up in your life. We’re saying ‘no’ to more commitments so we can spend that time with our family,” says Bridges, now a freelance writer.
While blogging for The Simple Year, Bridges is meticulously combing through her family’s accumulated “stuff” for recycling, donating and trashing. In favor of self-reliance, they’ve stopped using a housekeeper, and the yard and pool guys are the next to go. They plan to sell their 2,900-square-foot home and look for a 1,600 to 1,800 square foot house.
Also, that Lexus is long gone — Bridges says it’s been one of the hardest things to give up.
“My whole frame of reference from my entire adulthood has been the big law firm, and the six-figure lifestyle and everything else. That’s how I self-identified: I’m a lawyer. I’m successful, and I’ve really achieved the quote-unquote ‘American Dream.’ I think the Lexus was a symbol of that for me, and I was letting go of that,” explains Bridges.
When asked her advice for other lawyers to take smaller steps to simplify, Bridges replies, “First of all, I would say really think about what your priorities are personally. Everyone goes through goal-setting processes in their career or their work life or their billable hours or business development. Very few people go through their personal lives and set truly attainable goals, and think about what their priorities are there. . . . Take a step back, and see where your life is, in accordance with those priorities. Just take steps to get there.”