Today is Yom Kippur – the day of atonement and final day of the Days of Awe, the 10 days that start the new year. This holiday can be powerful. In the Torah it states that this is when your name will or will not be put in the book of life for another year. That’s right, folks, we get short 364 day contracts in the Jewish faith that you hope to renegotiate every year.
Think about that for a minute.
If every year you were uncertain that you would be blessed with another, what would you do? Would you continue to live the way you have been, or would you “up your game” a bit, just in case?
We can take a dramatic pause here to think about what things – strengths, weaknesses, habits – you will keep and what you will toss.
I like to ask my three adult kids what they are proud of accomplishing in the past year, and what would they change. I do this partly because I’m literally in awe of who they are as humans and many days I am baffled that I am connected to their awesomeness. But, when the time comes and my years in the book of life expire, they will be on top of my list of accomplishments. Thriving, resilient, respectful humans. This will absolve all of my heinous sins and shortcomings for sure.
I am also amazed that they can give me analytical answers such as, I am proud that I have stood up for myself, or moved, or committed to my future path. I would like to work on being honest, being more productive, letting go of some control.
This has been an amazing year for me personally. I have done many things that I said I would do. I have just one job – writing – and it’s a career. Just one job. This may sound regular and you might be saying, so what? But I have not focused on only one thing in 26 years. I worked hard, I made the money we needed and I am proud of that. But I am also done with it.
I promised myself when COVID came to town, and suddenly four of us were home and working here, I was going to keep it together. That we were safe, healthy, together and employed. And I was going to be the fearless leader. There would be no complaining. Well, maybe a little anxious venting. Here’s the big one – we were not going to freak out about money.
We meaning me.
In the past I have dealt with financial restlessness and often unhealthy vulnerability with money. But I am done with this, too. And here we are, one kid back at college, another in a different state starting on a new chapter in her life, and I am home with my husband who also has just one job for the first time in a long time.
He is a teacher who is doing at least as much learning as the students. Different schedules and protocols, Zoom, Padlet, Google Slides, yada, yada, yada. Nothing is the same. If you are a teacher, parent or student, or live with any of these, the key word right now is GRACE. For yourselves, for each other. You’re all on the same team, not opposing ones.
So what will I work on in the next year? My career, obvi.
And letting go of the need to fit in. Embracing what makes me stand out. I have two close friends who love classic rock. They have way more tolerance for human flaw. They love lakes and mountains.
I am a disco roller skater at heart. Dark, cold murky lake water over my head? No thanks. I am a sand and waves girl. And I get frustrated when I watch others make poor choices and whine about the consequences. They let me in this friend group because we make an interesting trio together.
I have never wanted to fit in, but haven’t wanted others to notice that so much. I step in and out of the spotlight to grab 30 seconds of pseudo-fame then go back to being an under the radar observer.
But I am done with that, too. Stay tuned……
Fantastic! Love the writing and the message
Great message, Beth. Makes me want to focus on one thing, and that’s intimacy. I’ve always had interest in the Jewish faith and the traditions, but I was not aware of what Yom Kippur stood for. Considering the idea that my name may or may not be put in the book for another year is powerful food for thought. So many messages in your writing, which makes perfect sense that you published this on what would have been my son’s birthday. He would have enjoyed this. Thank you for sharing, Beth.
Thanks so much, Wendy. It’s an underrated holiday. No gifts, no Hallmark. but alot of reflection and contemplation.