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My New Year’s Resolutions

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It never fails that on December 31st, I sit at my computer with a document that looks something like this…

1) Actually go to the gym – at least 3 times a week
2) Stop eating so much chocolate at work – enough is enough

The list usually goes on for a few more bullets, but you get the point.  Then of course, by February 15th, my gym bag is collecting dust in the corner, and I’m back to the daily trips to the candy bowl down the hall (ok, multiple candy bowls throughout the floor).

For most of us, this is our one chance each year for calculated self-improvement.   But then, last week, on the eve of my 25th birthday, my friend Julia asked me what was going to be different in my 25th year.

Wow – I had never thought about making a birthday resolution.  It got me thinking.  Can I make a new resolution that doesn’t begin (and end) in the dead of winter?  And then, I realized – I’ve been doing it for years, but just not as explicitly.  Every autumn, I schlep to Cleveland, head to shul with my parents, and begin the year anew by celebrating Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

As Jews, we ask God for forgiveness, ask our peers for forgiveness, and in general, try to be the very best people we can be as we seek absolution for our sins.  We apologize for our wrongdoings, communally and in silent prayer.  We pound our chests, we sing Avinu Malkeinu, and somewhere during these multiple 5+ hour prayer sessions, we commit to changes.

So today, on the 9th day of the 9th month of 2009 (weird…), I’m going to share a couple of my resolutions with you – resolutions for my 25th year, for 5770, for myself.  And, of course, it starts in a similar fashion as almost all of my annual resolution lists begin:

1) Actually go to the gym – at least 3 times a week (maybe even 4 – but let’s not get ahead of ourselves)
2) Stop eating so much chocolate at work – enough is enough
3) Budget better – my spending, my time, all of it

And the most important one…

4) While I’m busy planning one-time volunteer projects for others, find an ongoing volunteer project that adds meaning to my life.

Yes – I said it.  Rachel Friedman, Oy!’s resident volunteer coordinator, is looking to volunteer.  By sharing that information with all of you, hopefully it will light the fire under my ass to get started and find something meaningful that I can do regularly, while still helping folks like you find your passions.  Call it a quarter-life crisis.

And while I spend the next month seeking that perfect project, I thought I’d share a couple cool opportunities with you, Oy!sters.  Here are a few snippets from TOV’s Fall Mitzvah Mania, a catalog of one-time opportunities that will give you a taste of volunteering at a new agency.

Kids Enjoy Exercise Now (KEEN)
Work one-on-one with an athlete at a KEEN sports session.  Activities include KEENquatics, playing with basketballs, jump ropes, scooters, parachutes, hula-hoops and more.  Shift time includes training. KEEN is an active volunteer opportunity.
Sunday, September 13
2:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.
High Ridge YMCA
2424 W. Touhy, Chicago

CJE Lieberman Geriatric Health Centre
Escort residents to and from synagogue and assist during Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur services.
Saturday, September 19
Sunday, September 20
Monday, September 28
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
9700 Gross Point Road, Skokie

Chicago Chesed Fund
Organize, clean, and restock the shelves at the CCF warehouse.
Sunday, September 13
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
7045 N. Ridgeway, Lincolnwood

Bottomless Closet
Sort clothing inventory into categories: designer, professional, and unsuitable.
Tuesday, September 15
9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
445 N. Wells St., Chicago

To sign-up to volunteer, register online at http://www.juf.org/tov/mm_form.aspx, or call TOV at 312-357-4762.

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