You’ll notice that most Jewish holidays end up focusing on reflection.
But that’s not always by choice, as you’ll find some yenta at your dinner table asking you enough questions that’ll make your head explode. That’ll make you start to reevaluate your life, your major decisions, why it is that you still come home for these holidays.
Jennifer, why didn’t you finish your brisket? You’re not eating enough up in New York City. Here, take this Tupperware back with you and put it in your freezer. Nothing goes bad in the freezer, Jennifer!
Oy Vey, how is a good lookin’ girl like you still single? Here, let me give your number to my friend Miriam’s son.
You really still want to be a writer? Why not try to be on TV? You’ll make more money.
But while Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), is a holiday i look forward to so i can stuff my mouth with as much challah bread and rugelach as my expanding waistline can handle before the acid reflux kicks in, it’s also a time that acts as my second chance. My mid-year evaluation of what i’ve done, haven’t done, or still don’t have the guts to do. A September slap in the face over what i’d like to change about myself.
A couple of days ago, I reached this year’s quota for embarrassing moments when I decided to do a quick wardrobe change in the elevator. I was leaving work in an absurd rush and instead of stopping in the bathroom like a civilized human being or decent adult, I decided to change my work appropriate skirt for a pair of shorts while riding the elevator down to the lobby. So, there I am, with 12 seconds to go before the doors swing open and I’m exposed to the public, pulling up my shorts and pushing down my skirt, all while trying to unzip stuck zippers and deal with the jolts of an ancient elevator carrying my weight all the way down.
I did it, i tell myself, feeling like the most sophisticated grown up, maybe always being in a rush isn’t the worst thing.
But as I go to exit the building, there they are. Three security guards huddled around the security camera, giggling and blushing and looking at me like they’ve just seen…like they’ve just seen everything!
There’s no shortcuts, no easy way to change our personalities or our clothes. It takes patience and time and even relapsing every now and then to realize how we’re going to become the better version of our darling selves.
Sometimes it takes a constant reminder, like a nagging relative at a Jewish holiday dinner or having to enter the lobby of your work building every single day and look into the eyes of a person who saw you in your underwear.
May you recognize how you can improve the quality and the laughter of your life, this year and forever.