Recently, it was a period of Jewish high holidays- Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. For those who don't know, it's essentially Jewish New Year followed 10 days later by a 25hr fast.
It's a really interesting time of year, as it forces you to be introspective. There's a whole emphasis on repenting for your previous sins, atoning and hoping that you'll be put into the Book of Life for the upcoming year.
For me, this period came around the same time I was coming up to my 1-year anniversary in London, so the introspection was turned up a notch. At the start of 2019, I wrote down some resolutions. It was really interesting to look at them now, three quarters of the way through 2019, and to measure what I'd actually achieved or hadn't achieved. Please forgive me for not wanting to share my resolutions just yet. Furthermore, I think if you break it down, the idea of setting a few lofty goals for the year sometimes seems a bit ridiculous. Am I the same person who I was 10 months ago? At my core, probably yes. But I'd also like to think that I've grown and changed.
The whole concept of atoning and asking to be inscribed in the Book of Life had me thinking about life, and how we treat those around us.
I've always felt that having a day where you're 'forced' to atone for your sins seems like a bit of a cop out. Surely we are all decent human beings who would be able to recognise quickly after the fact that we've hurt someone, and therefore make amends as soon as possible? I despised getting those stock standard 'I'm so sorry, wishing you all the best' type texts that come out a few hours before the fast starts. A last ditch effort to wipe someones conscious clean.
However, as I'm getting older, the more I'm realising that the impact of our words and actions can have far greater impact than we think. We live in a world which is so goddamn caught up by what we see on a screen, and we're always running and jumping around that to actually text a friend and say 'Hi, how are you' and mean it- hell that's a rarity. So maybe, in hindsight, having a day where we're forced to just slow down for a second and look inwards, is actually a good thing?
The idea of being introspective is to look into yourself, and find things you like and/or don't like, and try and change the things that we don't like, correct? So what happens after this forced shut down. What happens after we've bulk texted our friends for forgiveness? Ultimately, we'll most likely go back to being exactly who we were 25hrs early, but with a sore stomach from eating way too much. And we'll go on our merry way and our routine and get on with things.
So how can we maintain that calmness, that stop. How can we incorporate that into our lives a little bit. Somewhere where when we text that long forgotten friend 'Hi, how are you?' we're doing it because we actually care. Not because we think it's the right thing to do.
Yes, I'm aware that this might be exactly the 'lofty goals' that we set, but it shouldn't be. We should be conscious of how we treat others and the impact of our actions and words on those around us.
Imagine if we spent as much time being nice to people and accepting of those around us, nuances and all, as we did getting annoyed and frustrated? Wouldn't the world be a much greater place to live in?