I have always been taught that this is a time of year that one can look into his soul and ask for forgiveness for the wrong things he may have done, even something seemingly insignificant. This is the time of year where G-d looks at the actions that we have done this past year, and weighs the good and the bad on a metaphorical scale. The scale then determines if we will live, the obvious conclusion being that if the good outweighs the bad then there is nothing to worry about.
I get worried about the bad side of the scale sometimes.
I used to be strictly Jewish Orthodox. In more recent times I’ve become less so, exploring the world around me, coming out of my bubble and learning about different things. Experiencing new things. I still consider myself religious, and certainly spiritual, but I have not been conforming to the laws and regulations that had previously been my life. To be clear, I’m not bashing that lifestyle in any way at all. It was simply not the way that I wished to live my life, and while I don’t necessarily agree with all of the rules, it definitely works for many people. I respect those souls who find meaning and deep content in what they are doing.
Back to the bad scale.
I feel like I should be more remorseful than I am. No, I haven’t done any crazy things, no drugs, no nothin’. But I know that the me of a year ago would have disapproved of the me now. But…I like the me now. I like the me then, too, but the me now understands why she did the things that she did, and why she makes the decisions she does now are a direct result of the previous me. This sounds confusing, admittedly, but I find a great comfort in this. It’s as if I sat myself down and had a conversation. It went something like this:
Previous Me [PM]: I don’t like the decisions you are making now. Why have you changed?
Me Now [MN]: In short? I have met new people, seen new things. I have opened my mind to possibilities that you didn’t have. You stayed in your bubble. You felt safe. I had to break out of that in order to find myself. To find out if the person I was being was actually me, or if I was someone else and just didn’t know it yet. Didn’t have the opportunity to know.
PM: I am embarrassed of you. You say that you believe in something, yet you blatantly break the rules that YOU set for yourself. You wonder why you feel guilty when you’re acting “free”? You’re a hyprocrite!
MN: Yes, I do feel guilty. But I find that to be a natural reaction from a person who spent their entire lives believing strictly in one direction, and then finds herself open to dozens of new paths!
PM: I am disappointed. You are making excuses and rationalizing your behavior.
MN: Yes. You’re right. But I won’t change quickly, so might as well get used to it. I am constantly becoming aware of new knowledge and new ideas – this won’t change ever. Whether or not I change is up to me, not you. I will go whichever way makes me happy while simultaneously not compromising on my morals.
I didn’t know that I could be someone other than the me that I always knew.
I have made many realizations. Some of them I shall list now.
-I’d love to get a tattoo. But I know that my personality indicates that I will soon get sick of it. So, as a compromise to myself, whenever I get the desire to tattoo myself I shall instead buy some paints and canvas, and paint my idea. It satisfies both my artistic urgings, and my drive to avoid pain.
-My mother does so much for us. And never, ever complains. She works and supports my family, and makes us food, and stays up late. And wakes up early. She holds us together, materialistically and emotionally. Therefore, I am going to try to help her as much as I can. And I’m not going to complain about it.
-People are afraid to smile at one another. On trains, on the street, in class. I am going to do my best to bring out the smiles in the people around me. Always. I will try to do this for the rest of my life.
There are many other goals that I could come up with. Obviously the possibilities are endless. Our minds, emotions, insides are endless. We make it so. That is the way that God made us. He weighs those possibilities, the ones we chose over others. What decisions did we make? What paths did we choose? For whatever reasons. The good end of the scale, and the bad end. The one that we thought was right, is it? Is the bad end so bad after all? Does God care if I stop keeping kosher? Do I care?
I don’t know if God considers me worthy…but I’m gonna do my utmost to at least make life worthwhile for my loved ones and those around me.