Ten Years Ago
There's a chick who lives in Passaic who I met almost exactly 10 years ago - she was one of the leaders of my first trip to Israel. I see her at shul sometimes. It makes me reflect back on my life 10 years ago and the myriad changes that have occurred in that time.
10 years ago today -
- I had just finished my 2nd year of college. I had just switched my major from engineering to psychology.
- I was living in Birmingham, Alabama. I had never even been to New York, much less ever lived there.
- I was 19 years old, still a teenager.
- I think I had met approximately 2 Orthodox Jews in my entire life. Shabbos to me was Friday night. I had no idea that women would wear wigs for religious reasons, nor had I ever heard of wearing skirts and long sleeves either.
- I'd never had anyone ask me what my "english name" was before. They usually just asked me if I was Indian.
- I had extremely few Jewish friends. I had been the only Jew in my high school, and was one of very few at my college. I was the first Jew my college roommate had ever met.
In the past 10 years -
- I've traveled to Israel three times, including my first trip where I met the chick who now lives in Passaic. I would consider making my home there at some point.
- I've lived in Atlanta, Baltimore and Passaic and met wonderful, warm and lasting friends in all three places.
- New York has become my stomping ground. I can give directions to people who ask and even help them figure out which subway to take.
- I've become an "observant" Jew, meaning that I consider myself shomer shabbos, I "keep kosher" and I make efforts to follow halacha (Jewish law) to the best of my ability (I used to not know what the word "halacha" meant).
- I've taken possession of, and had to give away, a cat.
- I've completed my Bachelor's degree and have one year left of my Master's. And I've chosen the field of school counseling for my career.
- I've worked in full-time jobs that I don't like so much, but they have led me to my career and school decisions.
- Most of my friends are now Jewish. My life, in many ways, revolves around Jewish celebrations and observances.
- I'm 29 now, starting to think about turning 30 (SO weird) (oh, but I've been devising a scheme to retro-age, so I'll actually turn 28 this year, I totally think I can pull it off).
Those are the changes that are pretty tangible. But I think there are a lot of changes within me personally that are harder to delineate in a list. I think I've grown into a person who knows who she is (pretty much) and who thinks about life and the world a lot more. I've seen more - more of the physical world, more of the spiritual world and more of the emotional world. I've been through good and bad, difficult times and happy times. I've met so many people who have enriched my life.
It's really incredible how 10 years can replace so much of what was once your world. The places that I saw every day, the people I talked to, the activities I took part in. Very little is still the same. But the core of me, I think that hasn't changed too much. I don't know if it can really.
10 years - new cities, new faces, new strengths and new weaknesses. I wonder what the next 10 years will bring.