One Day at a Time
There’s something lovely about the structure religion provides, with its marked seasons and regular holidays. It can be like living in a house, with rooms designated for all of your living activities, that you spend your life wandering through, your movements reassured and guided by the familiar walls and hallways and small spaces open to you.
But there’s also something lovely about escaping that house, and having time loose and free, to savor day by day or run through your fingers week after week, to slow down and take notice when you want, to close your eyes tight and wait for it to pass when you can’t stand it.
Outside the streets are crisp with the first autumn chill. We aren’t going to make it to the beach a second time this season. I packed up my maternity shorts and am digging through the mountain of boxes that contain my material life, trying to find something warm that I can pretend fits my body.
I got my hair done the other day, and the woman doing my shampoo was a secular Israeli. “Are you going to fast on Yom Kippur, with the pregnancy or new baby?” she asked, when she discovered I was Jewish. “We don’t observe Yom Kippur,” I told her. “Not even Yom Kippur?” “No.”
Autumn feels empty without the large holiday edifices shaping the months. I do miss the honey on Rosh Hashanah. I do miss the yummy wallowing of tears on Yom Kippur, the masochistic guilt of feeling shitty for my sins. I do miss the pupiks in the chicken soup my mother used to make for Sukkus, or the adventurous discomfort of sitting outside in our coats, puffing clouds of breath over bowls of savory fricassee.
But it’s nice to be free of the impending dread of a “court appearance” that I used to take very seriously. It’s nice to be free of the confines of the holidays, which, one after another, quickly lost their meaning and became tiring and boring. It’s nice to have just today, this moment in time, to choose to dedicate to thinking over the last year, planning the next, or doing neither and instead obsessing over door handle choices in our renovations or taking a yoga class or reinvigorating my creative batteries with a good read or savoring a big dish of ingudai tibs. I love the freedom of today being unlinked to the season and all its associations. It’s just one day at a time, and it’s up to me how I choose to play with it.Printable Version