Where to begin? What could I blog about, what would interest current and new readers…how bout a good ol’ existential crisis? Woop!
Being raised within a religious environment has its perks. Structure, moral teachings, respectful values, etc. (Just so y’all are clear on this, I’m not bashing religion in any way, simply expressing my own experiences and consequent viewpoints.) I don’t know what sort of human I would have turned out to be if I had not been raised with religion (though that’s a conversation for another time, as I’m supremely fascinated by “what ifs”). Doesn’t matter at this point in my life – I am who I am based off the people and environments that were placed in my path. Voila, you got yourself a small-statured Russian Jew, with a lot of sass and a curiosity for new things! And herein lies my crisis.
Ah, and my mantra should come into play here as well: “Don’t tell me what to do” (Though as I may have mentioned before, it’s usually said in jest. But I totally mean it anyway). Having been raised within this sheltered and closed structure, and being told that other cultures and religions have it wrong, as well as being subjected to strict dress codes and religious principles…well, eventually my mind paused and asked itself, “Why am I doing this?”
Many, many youngins (and oldins) have experienced this at some point or another in their lives. The “Why am I here?” or the “Why am I pursuing this career?” or “Am I doing this because I want to or because I’ve been told my entire life that it’s the right thing to do?” And since I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge, once I left that aforementioned religious bubble and entered the secular world, I began to realize that there is an infinite amount of things to be seen and heard and experienced (in the interest of honesty, the amount of things is probably finite. But it seems infinite, k?), and that perhaps my things aren’t completely right. That is, for me. Am I making any sense?
Essentially what I’m trying to say is that once I realized the depth and variety in this world, I began to question my strict religious convictions. As you may imagine, about 5 years down the line, those convictions are pretty much gone. The ones that emphasized maintaining a separation between myself and the world, keeping my head down and doing what I’m told, succumbing to the ever-present patriarchy and ultimately grooming myself to teach my future children that it is the best way to live.
Nope. But I do hope I’ve retained the values that preach respecting your fellow humans and practicing kindness – definitely working on that one.
(I’ve met some people, some wonderful and creative, intelligent people. Their eyes light up when they learn something new, crave debate and to know more about those around them. And they’re not necessarily of my religion or ethnicity. What a novel concept, this connection! And isn’t that both sad and amazing? I’ve been missing out…)
Concluding thoughts (this whole post has been a bit of a mess, I apologize): new experiences + new people = definitely some new openmindedness.