Since Fall is my favorite season, I love the fact that the first day of autumn coincides with the 10 Days of Awe between Rosh Hoshana and Yom Kippor. This is the time Jewish people take stock of thier lives in the past year and see where they missed the mark in their dealings with others as well as with themselves (goals, dreams, etc.).
Below is an excerpt from a greeting a card I received from a Jewish organization that expresses the spirit of this season.
Rosh Hoshana and Yom Kippor offer opportunities for personal reflection and transformation, opportunities to remind us of our responsibilities to each other and to the world as a whole….This season not only gives us the chance to reflect and return, but also challenges us to move forward and to create the world in which we want to live. (Source: Jewish Funds for Justice)
A few days after receiving this card, I picked up the September 21st issue of TIME magazine, which has wonderful articles on the idea of service, prompted I believe, by September 11th now being designated as a National Day of Remembrance and Service. In this issue are several pieces about service, and the one I liked is entitled “25 Responsibility Pioneers.” This article came to me during The Days of Awe, when we look at our own lives. Reading how others have become pioneers of responsibility, I feel reading this article at this time is no coincidence, because now is the time for me to look at how I want to live responsibly in the coming year.
And what better way to “kick off” this whole concept of renewal and what the greeting card says:….“opportunities to remind us of our responsibilities to each other and to the world as a whole”…during the season of autumn, when there is an obvious change in Nature, with the trees sprouting their colors, mums glowing with their bold colors, and a little nip on the air that perks us up, reminding us that this time of year is a perfect time to make positive changes in our lives.
On a personal level, I have decided to ease out of substitute teaching, which is unfulfilling, and move back into freelance writing to earn money, something I did many years ago. There are many more health magazines and with email, submitting articles is much easier than by snail mail with the postage and SASE costs. So my goal for the New Year is to take responsibility for my decision to shift gears, hopefully helping others with the information I write. I plan to continue volunteering at MANNA, because it is another opportunity for me to “play with food” and be with other people who want to help those with life-threatening diseases. And finally, I want to reconnect with some of the lovely Jewish traditions I have been neglecting.
Perhaps you will feel a convergence of your own soon, where things seem to come together as a message that forces you to look at your life and make appropriate changes, some of which may not be easy. What is great about being over 60 (I read somewhere that the first 50 years are only a warmup anyway, so after 60 you are well on your way to being your own person!) is that you can begin to make decisions without guilt, breaking some of the rules that don’t fit, and making up new ones as you go along. I have become less concerned about what other people think and more concerned with how my thinking affects my happiness and those I love. If I am unhappy with my work, I won’t be of much use to anyone, anyway.
So even if you are not Jewish, why not use this time of year to reflect on what you would like to accomplish in the future? If you start planning now, by January 1st, the official New Year on our English calendars, you will be ready to make the changes that you want! In the meantime, enjoy the fall as the leaves change from green to gold and red.
P.S. Don’t forget to send your friends who are experiencing some aspect of divorce to my new blog: www.divorce-dayz.info.