Make the Last 90 Days of 2021 Count

“Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.” This is my favorite fall quote. It’s a message that Joe Fox (played by Tom Hanks) sends to his online pen pal, Kathleen Kelly (played by Meg Ryan), in the movie You’ve Got Mail. You’ve Got Mail turned 23 this year, and includes references to AOL, dial-up internet, and chat rooms—references that probably baffle most members of Gen Z. What remains poignantly relatable, though, is the movie’s theme of changing seasons in your life and in the calendar year. I love fall, but as a Texan, it has little to do with changing leaves or cooler temperatures. Instead, it has everything to do with a new school year and a new mindset. In addition to the annual arguments over how early is too early for pumpkin spice lattes and Halloween merchandise, this is the time of year I can count on my friends on social media to pose truly life-changing questions, such as, What will you do to make the last 90 days of the year count? (This mindset has actually inspired changes in my life that I am grateful for, but we’ll wait to talk about gratitude next month.)

To celebrate fall and a new school year, I don’t actually recommend a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils. I do recommend that you head over to iconicwomen.tyla.org to enjoy TYLA’s Iconic Women in Legal History. This TYLA 2020-2021 signature project is an online learning platform designed to foster respect for the law and advance the role of the legal profession in serving the public through videos and information about iconic women in our nation’s legal history. The women included have promoted and protected civil rights, fought for equality, and ultimately shaped our present culture. Iconic Women is the passion project of Britney Harrison, our immediate past president, and was made possible thanks to a generous grant from the Texas Bar Foundation. I have loved watching the 10-minute videos in classroom and interview formats and learning from inspiring lawyers.

One of my favorite Iconic Women videos is the interview with Gloria Allred. I highly recommend watching the entire video, but I’ll give you a small preview of the life lessons and advice she shares. On the topic of advice to students, Allred says, “When you feel that what has happened to you is unfair and unjust and you look up at the sky and you say, ‘Why me?’ Ask the question, ‘Why not you?’ Because maybe this is going to help you to be more committed to helping win change for yourself and others.” The late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave a similar message when she said, “So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great, good fortune.”

With 90 days left in our calendar year, I’m excited to see the work that our TYLA board accomplishes on important topics including civility, wellness, adoptions, foster families, and so much more. I also hope that this season of an already interesting year brings each of you opportunities to make positive changes in your lives and the lives of others.

Jeanine Novosad Rispoli
2021-2022 President, Texas Young Lawyers Association

For more information on TYLA, contact them at tyla@texasbar.com or go to tyla.org.


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