Last year, my friend wished me a Shana Tovah, a Happy New Year, by saying, “Wishing you A YEAR, as you would wish it.”
When I made my wishes for this year, the year we’ve just completed, I couldn’t have imagined that nearly anything that has happened would happen. This year, like any year, has been filled with roller-coaster rides, with lessons learned about self and love and friendships. Some of the lessons learned were fun and in moments of spontaneity. Many more were learned a harder way.
Last year, I came across this website called 10Q which sends a reflective question every day during the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. At the end of the ten days, your answers are sealed in an electronic vault, and are emailed to you right before the next Rosh Hashanah. This year, my roommate and I sat on the floor and shared our answers and the stories that prompted them. It’s amazing to see where my head was last year at this time, what I was hoping for, who was on my mind, and what I predicted for 2011. A YEAR feels short, but its weight and overall impact can be life changing.
The first question for this season’s 10Q came tonight. It asked about a significant experience from the past year and how I felt about it (if you’re interested in participating, regardless of your religion, it’s not too late to sign up! You can do so here). In my typical fashion I was indecisive and couldn’t choose just one, but the main experience I focused on was an experience I consider to be, overall, negative. Why is it that, when we look back, we too often focus on the moments in which we ache?
Everyone wishes for a year filled with success and love and pure, uninhibited joy. But, during her sermon, the rabbi tonight pointed out something interesting. When Jews greet each other around Rosh Hashanah, we wish each other a “good and sweet new year.” Why do we say good and sweet? She explained that not everything that is right and good feels good; not everything that is good is sweet. So we wish for each other good moments, filled with growing pains, and sweet moments, where our bodies can just smile. We wish to face these experiences with humility and grace, landing us a chance to try again next year.
Whether your new year is based on the lunar calendar, the secular calendar, or some funky combination of the both, may your next chapter be good and sweet, easy and hard, and filled with just the slightest amount of darkness, so you remember how to appreciate the light.
May your year be as you would wish it, with room for life to happen along the way.
A little more rockin' Rosh Hashanah wish:
(please note the blonde boy's kippah never falls, despite the flips. this video is absurd yet hilarious)