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Monday, March 12, 2007

One Year Older, One Day Wiser

Today I turn 25. Not exactly a milestone I was looking forward to, but it's not exactly like I have any choice in the matter. We are all bound to time. Actually, we're pretty much slaves to it, so there's nothing I can do nothing but be happy that I am healthy and happy as my quarter century mark arrives.

I discovered something not long after my 21st birthday, and I've expounded upon it now. In America, after 21, there's really isn't another personal age to look forward to. There is no set age for retirement. There is one for social security, but who exactly looks forward to 65??? If you're Jewish, the first age you look forward to is 12 or 13, because that's Bat and Bar Mitzvah time, and you get a big party. In Michigan, you look forward to being 15, because that's when you get start taking driver's ed. Then, you look forward to 16, because that's when you get to get your drivers license. I, personally, took my driving test and got my license on my 16th birthday and on Purim. That was an awesome day. Then, being that I'm a dork so I actually looked forward to this, when you're 18, you get to vote and you're no longer a minor. I turned 18 in 2000, an election year, but I registered too late to vote. I would have voted for Bush. Again, in Michigan, you look forward to being 19, because then you can drive to Windsor and drink. In the general country, you look forward to 21 because that's the legal drinking age.

But, then what? That's it. There's no other age to look forward to. You only see every 5 years as important, 25, 30, etc, because you're marking yourself getting older, not because it's anything "extra special". I'm not really worried about looking older. I don't look 25. I've never looked my age. When I turned 21 and wanted to go to my first club, legally, the guy threw me out because he said there was no way I was 21 and that my drivers license was fake. That actually ended up happening a lot. Even when the machine they used clearly said I was telling the truth, they still didn't believe me. But feeling like time is passing you by is what makes you feel older. I, so far, feel that time and I are step in step.

There are no more personally marked ages anymore. Now, at least for me, it becomes communal. There's no specific age for ME to look forward to, but there is ages that will be marked for US. The age that the husband and I got married, the age that we started a family, the age we moved into our very own house, etc. I used to have personal benchmarks for myself. The age I'd graduate college, the age I'd get married (that one actually worked out just the way I planned it. Go figure!), the age I'd finish graduate school. Before meeting my husband, the only benchmarks that were important were my own. Oh, I now the feminists will be out for my throat when I say this one. Now, I SHARE my own benchmarks and prioritize them with OUR benchmarks. So, I'm not going to graduate from Grad school exactly when I wanted and with the exact program that I wanted to do. So what that it's going to take a little bit longer to get to the career path I was supposed to be one a few years ago. THERE ARE MORE IMPORTANT THINGS IN LIFE THAN PRECONCEIVED DATES AND PERSONAL AMBITIONS. Personal ambitions are important and vital to your self worth, and I'm still pursuing them with a vigor, but not achieving those ambitions by your preset date is NOT the most important thing in the world.

Before I went to college, I though putting my career on fast track was the most important thing in the world, and the most important category for setting my happiness radar. In my first semester of college, and IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH BEING IN STERN, I realized that was complete malarchie. Happiness is a balance. I realized that the most important thing to set your happiness radar was by your life, NOT your job. If you're a workaholic, something is missing in your life. Even if you're a neurosurgeon, your job's not your life and not as important as what's happening in your life. Being happy and fulfilled in your job is great and necessary, but if you're not happy in your life, your job isn't going to fill that void for you.

So, here I am. 25. I'm happy in life, happy in love, happy in marriage, but still waiting to find the happiness in my career. That part is taking slower than I wanted it to, but I'm not too worried about that. It'll fall into place at the right time. I'm confident of that. In the list of my life priorities, it's the least of my concerns. In the life of happiness priorities, I believe that at this stage in my life, I'm pretty darn happy and pretty darn blessed by G-d that he gave me someone who is so perfect for me and loves me for everything that I am. I thank G-d that He gave me the strength to make Aliyah when I didn't even realize how much I would love it here. Moving to Israel was definitely nowhere in my plans before a few years ago. Even when I started thinking about making Aliyah, I didn't think I would be here before 25. I thought grad school first and then Israel. It's funny how things work out. There's an old Yiddish saying: "Man tracht und God laft." "Man plans, and God laughs."

How true that is!

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At 2:23 PM, Blogger Rafi G said...

how true it is. And Happy Birthday!!

At 10:10 PM, Blogger Lvnsm27 said...

happy birthday, I also look younger than I am. We'll enjoy it when we're older :)

It's so true how life turns out different than we planned. Baruch Hashem you're happy

At 11:35 PM, Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

Happy Birthday! I hope you continue finding happiness in all aspects of your life! : )

At 4:59 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Happy birthday.
I'm from Michigan, too, but I don't remember my 19th birthday...


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