My pace of life has slowed down a lot over the past few weeks. Though my evenings and weekends remain filled with activities (festivals, choir, acrobatics), my daytime has been freed for morning runs, afternoon naps, assorted project work and… reading.
I am not a disciplined reader, though I have made an effort to make my way through a handful of non-fiction works and novels. The act of reading a “real live book” further slows down the pace of the day, especially when juxtaposed to the mile-a-minute phone, computer and Facebook frenzy that I often get pulled into. I am just finishing The Man Who Quit Money by Mark Sundeen, and I recommend it.
Though my external activities have seemingly slowed, my internal activity is bristling with movement. Through conversations with friends, family and personal reflections, I have become keenly aware of the worlds that I straddle and the divergent paths that lay before me. The decisions ahead impact the categories of geography, community, career, personal values & priorities, religion, family and significant other – all pretty big items. Further, these musings call into question my previous values framework and the worth of, say, dedicating my time to Jewish education and engagement vs. social justice vs. whatever other causes may speak to me when time is limited and priorities must be made.
Would trying to integrate the world that I come from and the world in which I now exist compromise both communities? Is it possible to find a partner who can straddle both worlds, and is it worth rejecting a partner who can’t navigate the two? Do I prioritize my current earthy, hippie and progressive value system over the values framework of my past if one must be deemed primary? And on a silly “micro level”, if I want my children to have my level of Jewish education but I am not currently inclined enough to the religious Jewish community to passionately set an example of synagogue, daf yomi, etc., how can that be a fair or realistic expectation? Lastly – though there are many more questions – on a macro level, what are my feelings about the institution of marriage and its long-term viability to fulfill, satisfy, and deliver on its promises?
My capacity to empathize – to truly feel others’ perspectives and not just rationally understand them – is tremendous. This is a strength, but also a double-edged sword since holding and viscerally feeling multiple perspectives at the very same time can be challenging and even psychologically painful. Sometimes these choices and decisions seem daunting, and at other times they don’t seem monumental at all. I have been focusing, as always, on being present and particularly on taking in nature during this glorious and uncharacteristically cool Austin spring.
One last philosophical bit: These musings have unexpectedly brought to light the most interesting and significant character flaws in yours truly. Though theoretically troubling, it is delightful to discover such imperfection in oneself at twenty seven – something to work on.
In less lofty news, I am enjoying my season in Austin with renewed interest and investment in the co-op. I am on chicken patrol this week and have been dutifully feeding my feathered neighbors and letting the ladies out each morning at 7am. I hosted a kickoff Jewrotica event in Austin, which was successful and rewarding. And I will soon return to the East Coast to celebrate the college graduation of my little sister (getting a degree from Yale in 2.5 years ain’t too shabby!) before planning a summer RV tour.
I imagine that there will be more antics and fewer musings in the next post, or at least less on me and more on my surroundings. Until then, I wish everyone a super blissful and happy May! Get outside!
posted by ayo