Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What a year

I look back at where we this time last year and it seems like last Rosh Hashanah was a million years ago.

I remember standing with my mom, knowing we were hoping to make aliya but not really believing it was going to happen, and getting weepy thinking it would be the last time I sat in our age-old family high holiday seats yapping my way through davening with my mom and my sister.

I remember going to my Aunts for lunch and thinking "this is it. This is the last time I have to do this".

I remember the annual family arguing over seder times and thinking "this is the last time I need to do this".

I remember going to my cousin's bar mitzvah and shmoozing with my entire extended family on shabbat afternoon while the kids all played in the yard and thinking "this is the last time I get to do this".

I remember going to the cottage and sitting by the bonfire pit and thinking "I don't get to do this anymore".

It was a year of lasts. Our last set of high holidays at the shul where I was a member since I was born. Our last year of obscene tuition. Our last year in that hellhole of an apartment we managed to make a happy home for so long. Our last year with the damn KIA-lemon we hated. A last chance to host certain meals we always hosted for and have guests we always had.

It was a year of hard things. Saying goodbye for now to people we loved. Saying goodbye forever to people we once loved. A year of purging things we thought we needed from our lives. A year of trying to decide if what we thought we could not live without was worth shipping. A year of assessing the value of everything we owned and trying to decide what would stay and what would go. And deciding what to do with what we could not keep. A year of figuring out what was really important to us.

But in the end it was also a year of new beginnings.

We got something that is more than anyone could ask for. We got a 2nd chance. We left behind everything we knew- everything we loved and everything we hated. We took a leap and with it re-took control of our own lives and regaurdless of whether we suceed or we fail, the burden is now ours and ours alone.

We have a new home, a new city, and a new life. And our life is what we choose to make of it. Who we meet and with whom we retain ties is completely up to us. We have no apron strings to hold on to anymore. We want people to visit, but have no control over how often we get to see our loved ones.

I have learned that there are always reasons not to follow your dreams. But our year of chances included the chance to follow ours. Though it was not easy, we went for it and, I think, are happier for having done so.

I wish for everyone what we are going to have. A shanah of chances to remake ourselves into who we want to be. To form ourselves into the image of ourselves that we carry in our heads and for various reasons can never create in reality.

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