Saturday, October 29, 2011

Lessons From The Bench

Source of picture: frankie magazine

"To young people in their 20s, my advice would be unashamedly to search for love. It is the indispensible commodity to a full life. You might not find it, or you may not find it where you thought you’d find it. If you find it, then you’re a very lucky human being." - The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG
Every student who has gone through law school in Australia would have inevitably come across the workings of former Justice of the High Court of Australia, Michael Kirby. Earlier this week, I sat in on a lecture he presented at my university.* He is a terrific speaker, proving not only that he has a brilliant legal mind, but also how respected he is in Australia. You can't help but admire his stance on some tough issues in the law. You can watch him discuss gay marriage as part of TED Sydney 2010 here.

I was rifling through a stack of old magazines in my spare time (yes, I somehow managed to scrape in 'spare time' with my busy schedule of being a uni student and a working woman. Haha.), and found the above quote in an interview Michael Kirby took part in with a magazine some time ago. This interview was refreshing - he didn't discuss the law (of which I've been quite aquainted with) but rather gave snippets of his life on being gay, being young, working in a tough profession, and love.

I won't bog my readers with the particulars of the article, but he does mention an important aspect of his life while completing his postgraduate studies that he does feel sorrow over:
"Looking back, this infatuation with university was an anaesthetic to postpone my engagement wit the real world, and with human relationships. It was a lonely time. Most human beings seek out personal relationships and sexual experiences and I did none of the above. I simply concentrated on my studies, but I knew there was emptiness in my life..."
That is on of the things I'm most fearful over (as for most people, I'm sure); focusing too much on work and shutting myself off to potential relationships with great people and great loves. In a sense, he impliedly cautions young people of making that mistake. And I suppose it ultimately relates to the quote he ends the interview with, and of which I have placed at the beginning of this post. Search for love, by any means possible. And if you haven't found it, keep looking.

NB: Michael Kirby has been with his life partner for the past 40 years! Here's hoping the romantic in me lasts for that long...

*For those of you curious to know, he presented a talk about the importance of the correct interpretation of legislation - always pay close attention to text, context and purpose!

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