High Holy Days | Rosh Hashanah

I went for a lovely breakfast to celebrate the new year. I had a hectic day, waking up late for the breakfast, forgetting that I had to attend, and then rushing up north to the Jewish Center, to exchange greetings and to eat the home-made, imperfectly perfect food.

There was a candle-lighting ceremony, for setting good intentions and for forgiving the past. Perhaps one of the reasons why their rites don’t bother me as badly as rites generally do is because I tend to be more comfortable than most to reflect upon my past without letting it set the theme for the now, which holds true for certain schools of thought in their religion. I carry grief and like emotions through my life, and while I struggle to not let them eclipse the good or the new, I think the struggle is becoming easier.

A colleague left the team yesterday for a different company. It seems to be an interesting time in this space; many leave and come with turnaround times of as few as a handful of months. While I had not worked personally with him, he came across as a technically sharp, personable man who treated his colleagues professionally and well. That combination of intelligence and kindness is rare in the industry I am in. It takes little to impress me these days, perhaps.

I have been asked to provide a recommendation letter for a former colleague. His best claim towards collaboration was a bout of unwanted sexual attention. His ways of dealing with female colleagues are separate from his strong technical acumen. I have been asked only about his technical proficiencies, so that does make it convenient. It is a bit saddening that the bar is low.

This week is, hopefully, one of contemplation and making the right decisions. I have some to make, and I have been procrastinating, waiting for the impetus, waiting for a tipping point. I have been evaluating relationships in my life, and possessions, and trying to be very careful about what I keep and what I don’t, and I feel that there is still some sorting out to be done. There is also a conscious effort that I am trying to make, to focus on reciprocity of action and emotion, to nurture and keep in my life only relationships that are overall more in balance than in a state of perpetual imbalance. It hasn’t been easy; it has required a level of self-forgiveness I had not expected to possess, that I do not yet find easy to embrace. Through conditioning, I had found it easier to blame myself instead of other parties, regardless of how the actual proportions were. It is likely a combination of extreme sensitivity and empathy that renders me vulnerable to accepting blame without thinking twice, making excuses for others regardless of the situation.

I took a look at the last year. High Holy days sees me now in a different place, though not still where I wish to be. Sibelius called, and we were discussing our Thanksgiving plans, but we didn’t get anywhere with that.

A new year is a good time for new beginnings. If I fail, there is another new year a few weeks down the line. I can try again then. I will have been home and back by then, and will likely be in a firmer state of mind, more willing to make drastic decisions without fluttering about and wavering.