I am delighted to say that I have recently moved back to Melbourne, the city I moved to when I first set foot in Australia and where I spent three years as a student at the University of Melbourne working through my Juris Doctor degree way back when.
Melbourne is the perfect city for the ‘live hard, play hard’ mantra that I subscribe to. I was one of those crazy law students who spent hours, sometimes up to 48 at a time, locked in the library fueled by caffeine and chocolate pouring over case law and legislation. And then, after a marathon study session I took it upon myself to get to know the ins and outs of Melbourne nightlife, which is really more about getting to know Melbourne in the wee hours of the morning. All of this had a sort of ‘wash, rinse, repeat’ element to it which saw me through my three years of law school.

My one saving grace, which helped keep me sane, was that I, along with some of my law school colleagues, often went on long runs together. One of our favorite running routes was ‘the tan’. For those of you who don’t know, the tan is a fairly scenic route which loops around the botanical gardens and various impressive looking monuments (I later learned what they were but on my first runs around the tan I was just trying not to pass out). And then of course there is the infamous Anderson Street Hill. Anderson Street Hill is aptly described in a newspaper article for The Australian as ‘a notorious 500m slope that can leave regulars dry-retching at the top. It’s not so much the incline but its length that runners dread.’
As you can imagine, my lifestyle of lengthy study sessions followed by all nighters and poor diet was not exactly conducive to peak running performance. Although it is embarrassing to admit this, on all my runs around the tan in those three years of law school I never once made it up Anderson Street Hill without stopping to walk.
Now fast forward to present day. In my first week back in Melbourne, and my first week of returning to work for FGD in the Melbourne office, I along with the other staff of FGD Melbourne participated in the LIV run around the tan (twice). Of course I was a bit nervous given my track record with the tan but I thought I would give it a shot. The story has a happy ending though as I made it around the tan, including up Anderson Street Hill, without stopping…twice!
You may ask what this has to do with family law, and why it is at all relevant for a family law blog. But as I was cruising around the tan, and especially up Anderson Street Hill I was amazed by how much easier it was than was previously the case. I realised the reason I was able to get up the hill without stopping with ease was because my lifestyle, and the importance I place on taking care of myself, since leaving law school has vastly improved. I still like to work hard and play hard, but factors such as getting less than 2 hours’ sleep a night, living on only coffee and chocolate, and spending 48 hours strapped to a chair in the library are a thing of the past.
And then I thought about the advice I give to my family law clients who are going through a separation. When placed under the stressful situation of going through a separation it is so important to ensure that you are taking care of yourself by prioritizing things like regular exercise, eating right, getting enough sleep, and relying on supports such as family, friends (and getting practical advice from your family lawyer). Going through a separation is just like running up Anderson Street Hill. The easiest way to get to the top and come out the other end is to ensure that from the beginning all the factors are in place to make it as easy as possible.
See you on ‘the tan’!
FGD_dara-isaacson Dara Isaacson