Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. I have spent all week (and much of the previous one) explaining the holiday, its history and traditions, to host country nationals and fellow Peace Corps Volunteers. It has been well received and many have joined me in celebrating and honoring this day. I am grateful to be able to practice (and share) my Jewish faith even while I'm halfway around the world.
One of the things I like most about Rosh Hashanah is the opportunity to reflect on the past year and contemplate the binds that held me back so that I can move forward into an even more fruitful new year. The idea of rebirth and new life is a great one. So here is my reflection for you all: In this past year, I have started a magnificent journey full of ups and downs and uncertainties and challenges and rewards. I have had to let go of many of my preconceived notions of things and be open to significant change in myself. This has been met with resistance, fear, solace, and finally contentment. I am only now learning some very valuable things about myself. Although I have alluded to it in the past, one of these great binds is that I feel like I need to fulfill expectations. This means that sometimes I refrain from doing things because I am unsure of what the end result should look like (so I don't know what I'm working towards). This next year provides me with the perfect opportunity to just do things because Peace Corps service is all about unknowns, trial and error, exploration, and creating your own path and destiny. No one really knows what your service is "supposed to" look like or what it's going to look like in the end. It's liberating and I intend to let go of this bind and be liberated by it.
So, on this day, I would like to wish all of my family and friends a sweet new year filled with health, happiness, and peace. And the freedom to let go of the things that are holding you back so that you can have the best year (and life) possible. L'shanah tova!