Monday, October 25, 2010

How did I get here?

Today I had a moment that made me stop and pause and think, “How in the world did I get here?” I kept going over in my head the steps that brought me there, but somehow that did not minimize my disbelief. I seem to be having a lot of those in the time since I graduated college. I guess it is because up until that point my life was basically worked out for me. I knew since I was little that I would go to high school, then college. After that was always the mystery. The irony is that if you had told me three months ago that I would be where I was now, I would not have believed you at all, but if you had told me 10 years ago, I would have believed it in a heartbeat. It just goes to show you how things come around full circle.

The funny thing I noticed about monumental moments is how insignificant they often feel at the time. In some cases it takes looking back to realize that your life changed that day, even if it was not a huge change, but while you were standing there it was just another moment of just another day. It didn’t feel huge, it was just the next step, and you were just following along with life. Like the day I made the final decision of which seminary to attend. I had debated between a few schools for a little while, but at that second, when I sent in the appropriate forms, it was just a continuation of the process. It just was.

In other cases it is the moment you’ve been waiting for and building up in your head and then you get there and you wonder why you thought it would be such a big deal. Like graduation, for example. Graduation is the day you dream about when you’re studying for midterms and can’t wait for it all to end, or when it’s 2:00 in the morning and you just finished the second page of a fifteen page paper. But then when I got there, it was so boring. Maybe there were one or two good speeches, but overall YU’s graduation was long and dragged out. When I walked up to get my diploma, I was just walking, the same way I walk to class, the same way I walk anywhere. Taking my diploma was just as easy as the act of taking the salt shaker that my mother passed to me at the dinner table. It just was the way it was and didn’t feel huge.

I don’t know what I expected, really. It is almost like I was waiting for an orchestra to burst out in beautiful chords, or for a loud audience to applaud and cheer. Perhaps it is because at other moments, which are small and minor, I have felt as though I were soaring in the sky or rushing through the ocean. Inspiration sometimes hits you when you expect it the least. Perhaps part of the burst is the surprise factor. When you build something up in your mind, then real life has to be pretty impressive to even compare. But when all you anticipate is for life to be ordinary, anything above or below average is moving.


  1. This post definitely resonates with me. I did a lot of thinking of this sort while I was in Israel, which in-and-of-itself was a miraculous feat of sorts. It does a person good to step back and consider just how they became who they are and what it took to reach where they now find him/herself.

    We often build up a remarkable amount of anticipation for upcoming events, to the extent that we simply lose ourselves in the moment as they occur and we're left with the feeling of "that's it?" The opposite is true of the really meaningful moments, which can't always be anticipated, but stick out in our minds in greater detail, or so I have found.

    Great post!

  2. Shades- Thanks. When we're in Israel we expect to be figuring things out and doing a lot of soul searching and reflection. It's easy to forget that just because we left Israel and we figured out who we are doesn't mean we stop changing.

  3. Even after achieving some success in my profession, I am not fully content. I always thought that would make me happy, but now realize that there is more to life than work!

  4. Lawyer Dov-
    There is definitely more to life than work, and thank G-d for that!


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