It’s good to be back here! I’m still feeling foggy and jet-lagged but I wanted to check in. A friend and I were in Europe and E”Y for about two weeks. One of the places we went to was Barcelona…and we were there, on Las Ramblas, the day before the terror attack. I’ve never been so shaken by a headline…
After my overseas adventure, I have a load of tips to share about travel but I think that post will wait until midwinter break.
And…I have a meeting for work tomorrow. Summer really is drawing to a close. The transition to Elul and the new school year is always bittersweet. I’m a fan of autumn and chunky sweaters but any shift that marks the passage of time gives my heart a little ache — and I don’t think it’s just because I’m single. Aren’t we all in denial of the passage of time? Of the reality that “the days are long but the years are short”? I remember years ago when I read Anne of Ingleside, the sixth book in the Anne of Green Gables series, about Anne as a mother of a big family. Ten years had passed since the end of the previous book (in book years, not my-life years) and I started crying when I read the first chapter! Anne was too old. Too much time had passed. I didn’t want her to have all those kids, I wanted her to still be Anne-spelled-with-an-e of Avonlea, or at least newlywed Anne of Four Winds Harbor. I’m sure I was afraid of the same changes happening to me and of my being powerless to stop them.
I think the fear of time passing is lessened when we know that we did our best to grasp the moments and live them. We have a lot of power to really live and savor our time.
I’ve been trying to identify the specific aspects of my life that could use an improvement and the changes I can make to bring about those improvements. So I was thinking, instead of feeling overwhelmed at the thought of the New Year, how about choosing one goal to reach this fall? Do you want to start a journal, write a budget, learn Chovos HaLevovos Sha’ar Habitachon, spend more time with your mother, sign on for a weekly chesed, wake up earlier to daven, plan healthier lunches, find a weekly shiur, join an exercise class, TAG your smartphone, or reach out to a friend who needs support?
For maximum effectiveness, write down your goal and make it specific and measurable (for example, write at least one sentence in my journal four nights a week, do an hour of homework-helping for chesed each week, etc.). Reward yourself for progress – with rewards you really want! When I was doing The Ladder, Mrs. Rigler gave us a chart to use to record how often we did the Ladder exercises, and we were required to set a goal and reward ourselves for our performance (as in, buy a pint of ice cream for 12 check marks).
The days are long, the years are short – and we get to fill them with what we choose.
Wishing you a kesiva v’chasima tova!!