Jewish New Year, New Beginnings
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
I haven't posted to this blog since before my mother passed away on July 2nd. In fact, I haven't visited the site much, or exercised much, or done much of anything since then (or, really, since May when she took a turn for the worse and we became aware that the end of her physical life on earth was nearer than any of us had believed it to be).
But now is the time of new beginnings for us Jews. It's the Jewish New Year, so while everyone else is thinking about Autumn and the coming Winter, of the year ending and things dying, we Jews are celebrating new beginnings, and hoping for better things in the coming year. We are praying for peace, for good health, for easy livelihoods, for ourselves and our loved ones.
So here I am, only days into the new year, and I'm thinking "what has changed since last year?" Last year I promised to work fewer hours, to start exercising regularly, to eat balanced meals, to lose weight. Today I weigh almost exactly the same, I'm still working too many hours, my house is still cluttered, I've exercised only a handful of times in the past year, and my eating patterns haven't changed one iota (skip breakfast, starve all day, then nosh on junk in my office, and then go home and snarf down whatever I can find in great quantaties). It's enough to make a person give up hope -- I've been through so much, and yet NOTHING has changed! A normal person would give up, but not me. I'm getting back up on the horse, so to speak, and I'm trying again. I'm a stubborn Irishwoman, and I'm not going to be defeated by ANYTHING, and certainly not by my own self-sabotaging behavior!
I'm still not sure why I'm doing these things to myself. I don't know why I'm hoarding every piece of paper that crosses my path (my house is filled with piles of mail, newspapers, school papers, etc.), why I'm refusing to exercise (what? My job as a billing manager is so critical that I can't walk away from my desk for 15 minutes? That's absurd! I could do it if I was determined to do it!), why I'm living with chronic back pain, when losing a little weight would relieve it -- which I know from experience, because I've done it before.
No, I don't have the answers yet. But that's not the important thing. The important thing is that I HAVEN'T STOPPED ASKING THE QUESTIONS! I firmly believe that as long as we keep questioning --whether ourselves or others or even G-d -- about why things are the way they are, then we have hope for changing them. When a person loses that questioning nature, when (s)he just says "well, that's the way it always was and always will be, no point in arguing about it," then the fight is over. No, not fight...I'm tired of fighting. I don't want to fight with anyone, especially not with myself. I'm 40 now...my parents and grandparents have passed on, my children are growing up, my body is changing (inside and out), and my goals and priorities are shifting. When I was younger, my goals were to take care of and be kind to my friends, my parents, my husband, my babies...taking care of myself was never a priority, which is the case with so many women. We're taught to be nurturers to everyone around us, but we overlook ourselves. Anyway, now I'm at the point where I realize that it's my turn. The kids can handle fixing their own supper if I decide I want to take an exercise class at 7 PM. My husband is more than capable of doing his own laundry (which he does), so I have no excuse why I can't go for a walk on Sunday afternoon. I still have an extremely demanding job, but I'm realizing that I can't spend 24/7 there, even if there are still huge piles of work on my desk, I have to go home and recuperate from the stress.
I'm not sure what the answers are. I'm not sure what the underlying psychological reasons are for my behavior. I don't know exactly how I'm going to get from point A to point B. But I'm still asking for directions, I'm still studying the map, and -- although my progress is slow, almost imperceptible -- I'm still moving forward. Or, at least I'm not moving backwards!
So, whatever you're celebrating this time of year, from now through January...join me, and make it a beginning. May the New Year be for blessing, good health, peace, and prosperity for us all. Amen!