My birthday is in September. Rosh Hashana tends to be in September. And since I am now entering grade 26 (only one more to go after this year) I also mark the start of the school year. This is a time that I use to reflect over the past year, and see where I have changed, where I want to go, etc.
This time around I am turning 30 as well. When I was younger, I always thought that 30 was “old” or “an adult”. But here I am at 30- and many times I don’t feel that way. Yes, I am financially independent. Yes, I have a master’s degree. Yes, many people know who I am. Yes, I have been living in the same apartment for 5 years. Yes, I have been a scholar in residence. But at the same time, I’m still in school.I don’t have a full-time job. I’m not married or in a relationship. I don’t have kids. It really is the question of what makes a person an adult. (There was an article in Bustle today, that I can check yes to all of their list, but I am not sure if I agree.)
Looking back on the past 10 years, as not only is this a new year, but a new decade I can see how much I have changed and
grown, as well as much as I have accomplished. I have lived in three countries, and really made them my home. I completed two degrees (a third will be done next year). I started organizations and communities (both in London and Jerusalem, started an intergenerational theatre program, a multi-denominational beit midrash for Israeli rabbinical students, and more). I have worked in the fields that I want to be working in. I have directed plays and have gotten paid for them. I have friends living almost everywhere in the world (the joke is that I can’t go places without people knowing me, the flip side is that I can travel to lots of places and have somewhere to sleep). I have taught internationally. I am no longer the shy and quiet girl sitting off on the side. I have learned that I have a voice and power, and a lot of the time, actually know how to use it.
This past year was a hard one. I was forced to make one of the biggest choices I have had to make in a long time. It is one that I believe will be professionally beneficial, but at the same time it is a difficult one. It is one that makes me think about what is more important to me- doing what I want to do or being where I want to be. I have built up a world, a community that I am part of, and I know that I have to leave. It becomes more and more clear that nothing is permanent (something I thought changed after grad school).
At the same time, I learned that I have some pretty great friends out there. That I actually matter to the people around me. I am so lucky that not only are my friends there because they like me, but also they support me and my dreams. At times when all I wanted to do was give up, it was them who were there to push me back onto the path, and convince me that this really big change is worth it. I am forever grateful to them.
So thinking about this upcoming year. I will still be learning, just with new teachers and people. I will still be working at the nursing home. I will still be running minyan. I will still be running Gam Yachad. But comes June I will be leaving Israel for at least a year. Leaving my job. Leaving my friends. Leaving my brother. Leaving a country that I went back and forth to, dreaming about living in.
I hope that this year is a year of being uplifted instead of being put down. I hope that this year is a year of being empowered. I hope that this year is filled with joyful learning, without it being hurtful. I hope that I am able to make the most of the year, and really love being in Israel and around my friends,and take as much as I can from city/country. I hope that I will find a relationship. I hope that I will be able to continue to grow and change and help others grow and change. I that my choices bring good things into the world and into my life.