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good riddance?

12/29/2022 09:23:02 AM

Dec29

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

It might be considered a gift that the Jewish community has two opportunities to reflect upon the year, with the end of the solar year upon us and the month prior to Rosh Hashanah serving as a period of introspection.  With the first quarter of the year 5783 concluded, perhaps we might reflect upon our introspection and goals from the summer past and be honest with ourselves, asking the question “Am I a better version of myself that I promised to become?” The hoped for answer should be “I am a work in progress.” We may never reach our goals, but like the ubiquitous spinning circle that tells us that an application is reloading, this symbol might tell us and others that we are in the process of upgrading to a newer, better version.

It would be easy to observe that this process spans our lifetime, and thus we are upgrading every single day. When we can acknowledge that is true, then we recognize our humanity and our responsibilities to both ourselves and all those around us. How glorious it would be if we can assert that we are a self-updating model, in continuous upgrade format. No matter our age nor the length, breadth and depth of our experiences, learning and upgrading is a lifelong process. How frequently do we wish that the knowledge we now possess we had in our youth? I know that I do, but the flip side of that dream is the reality that all of the experiences I’ve had brought me to this moment.  The gift of maturity can be wisdom.

While the year in review articles written by so many can be worthwhile, as there is much to learn from the year in review, I don’t find the postings in December to be as productive, because I did something even more important in August. I took the time to not only think about the year at that point, but my interaction with the events and people that surround me. That is the crucial component missing from the December review. Reading a list of the events of 2022 can be interesting, but it will only be meaningful if we examine our words and deeds as it relates to this list. Were we mere passengers on what we might consider a rollercoaster, or are we runners in an ultra-marathon?

Perhaps our lives might be best summed up as a mix of both? There will be moments when we feel as though we are on the Coney Island Cyclone (https://lunaparknyc.com/rides/coney-island-cyclone/), mere passengers unable to control the journey, praying that our seat belts are firmly affixed, and that this ride will end. Then there will be moments when we are running in an ultra-marathon, which can be 50 or even 100 miles ( to compare, a marathon is 26.2 miles).  Sometimes we might be in a pack with others, and sometimes we might be alone.

These two elements might be the two components that make up our journey called life, and I’m here as your tour guide. May next year’s leg of your journey be an incredible one for you.

Wed, February 1 2023 10 Shevat 5783