Shana Tova! Like many of you, I have been reflecting on this past year, 5770, and looking ahead to the next, 5771. Over the past year I have transitioned from one full-time job to another, completed a part-time fellowship, staffed a Birthright-Shorashim trip to Israel, and proposed, planned a wedding, and married the woman of my dreams…just to name a few of the events that kept me busy last year. I have no regrets. I am in a great place in my life and I have had an amazing year. My accomplishments have been significant and my experiences have been life changing.
This time of year there is a lot of talk about New Year’s resolutions—let’s try to do more of this, spend more time on that, and really work to get better at all of these. As a goal oriented, young Jewish professional, I am all for it and I unconditionally support the endless pursuit of excellence. That being said, an interesting idea came to me this year.
As 5770 was coming to a close, I was celebrating my wedding over Labor Day weekend, just a few days before Rosh Hashanah. With all the flurry of activity surrounding the wedding, my now wife and I had neglected to make any dinner plans for the holiday. We didn’t make any arrangements to be anywhere or have anyone come to us. Surprisingly, I felt great about it. Well, admittedly, I felt a little guilty that I wasn’t planning some grand meal or traveling to see any family for the long weekend. Deep down, though, I was relieved. After one of the busiest and most intense years of my life, I had the opportunity to come into 5771 with nothing to do.
On Erev Rosh Hashanah, as many were stressing, traveling, preparing, cooking, and getting ready for the insane rush of the holiday, I felt completely at ease and relaxed. I left work early, picked up a few items at Trader Joe’s, and cooked Rosh Hashanah dinner for two. We had kosher wine, two round challahs, sweet honey, fresh apples, and all the necessities for a holiday meal. Best of all we had time to just be with each other and enjoy our new life as a married couple. I’m talking about good old fashioned free time: time for dreaming, napping, laughing, and playing. After the year I had just completed it was the perfect and most peaceful way to bring in the new year.
The experience of a low key holiday taught me an important lesson. There was one resolution that needed to be on my list this year. In fact if it’s the only thing I accomplish, it’s safe to say that this will be an even more amazing year than last. How do I top 5770, the year where I seemingly did it all? The answer is to do less. My resolution this year is to make more time to just be me, live my life, and enjoy the time with my new wife.
I wish all of our Oy! readers a happy and healthy new year. For those of you of that have a lot to do this year, my wish for you is to have it all and do it all. For those of you that need a break this year, my wish is that you give yourself permission to take a little extra time for yourself and occasionally enjoy a meal for just one or two.