I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!
It happens every year. Whether our season of rededication coincides with the Christmas hoopla or not, there’s still the feeling around the month of Kislev that something has to change. Never mind the end of the secular calendar is a good three weeks off, the feeling is strong as my dh and I are going to light the eight candles tonight and say goodbye to Hanukkah tonight, with the sense that we’d like to take something of the joy and fun we’ve had for nearly eight days with us on into the new year. Seriously, I think I have been this way since I knew what New Year was or could be. Tradition calls it the end of the year and time to make New Year’s Resolutions. But, especially as I’ve grown up, married, had children and am now facing my 60th year of doing this, it’s more than that. It’s invisible fingers on my back and a nagging in my insides. It’s the conviction that I have to do better; and I have to do more. It’s an undeniable nagging from somewhere to change.
Oh, there’s room for change. I could never kid myself that there is not. There are too many things I have allowed to lie and gather dust. There are projects and recipes I’ve hoarded for years and never attempted. There are far too many people I have not visited or even contacted. There are whole rooms in my house that haven’t seen a vacuum cleaner or dust rag in months. There’s a whole “totally perfect” healthy eating and exercise lifestyle I’ve been in search of for longer than I can recall. And there is clutter in my house, in my car, in my office, in my life, that this year (and every year in memory) I swear I will finally get out from under.
I won’t say I haven’t tried. For nearly 50 years, I’ve tried. Setting it all up once a year and running headlong into the fact that the other people in my life don’t exactly share my vision inevitably knocked me back on my tukhas and I quit. Simply quit.
Then, about 37 years ago, things did change. I changed. I found the “once a year” opportunity was myopic. You see, one of the nice things about being Jewish is we celebrate New Years more times during the year than most folks I know: Birthday of the World, Rededication, New Year for the Tree, Passover, etc., they’re all part of picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off and starting all over again. Plus, again on the secular side, there’s always the change of seasons – even if that particular shift is unrecognizable these days as we go out in tee shirts and shorts in mid-December. It’s all a good time for a do-over.
And so, over the next couple weeks, I think I will try to come up with what I might (or might not) label a Less & More set of resolutions. Here are the first ones that come to mind:
1. Plan less. Planning for me has become a set of blinders that make anything that interferes or alters or plain gets in the way a source of stress. I have enough stress. A general direction will do, but there is much necessary meandering to be done.
2. Look and listen more. Even if it’s the buildings I see every day or the roster of complaints I’ve heard a thousand times before, there might be something more, something I’ve overlooked the 999 times previously that can make all the difference.
3. Move more. Period. Full stop. Move the body, move the mind, and let my heart be moved.
4. Give more. With in mind, here’s my holiday gift to you today and for the next 365 days: