5 Things I’m Atoning For This Rosh Hashanah

I’m not the most devout Jew. Obviously, if I were, I’d be sitting in temple right now listening to the rabbi blow a shofar until I was half-deaf. But instead, I’m here reflecting on what I’ll need to ask forgiveness for. I figure, at least attempting to self-reflect, whether I do it in a house of worship or not, is enough to keep me cool with God. Or at least to keep me cool with myself, which I personally find more important.

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, is a supposed to be a day of judgement, where you stand before God and yourself and allow an honest assessment of how you’ve behaved in the previous year to take place. From now until Yom Kippur (which falls about 10 days after Rosh Hashanah), all Jews are meant to engage in a process of repentance for the sins of the previous year. That’s just a little light Judaism lesson for you. My thought is that you don’t need to be Jewish, or a religious Jew, or believe in the concept of sin (I don’t), to take some time to reflect on your year. After the jump, what I’m atoning for.

1. Being way too hard on myself. This year my perfectionist tendencies got way out of hand. The way they’ve manifested is with an ongoing loop in my mind that tells me whatever I’m doing isn’t good enough. This means that when I do something that I feel is legitimately not good enough, I berate myself to no end. And when I do something that’s good, I still don’t believe it’s good enough, and I don’t congratulate myself for any successes. You’re not my therapist, so I’m not going to go into much more detail. It just gets darker from here. I’ll just say that I’m aware I need to cut this out. I don’t know how yet, but I know it will start with not judging every little thing I do so critically. If for no other reason that it takes up too much extra time. That’s all the motivation I need to start with.

2. Worrying too much about other people’s feelings and neglecting my own. This was kind of a new thing for me — within the last few years. I went through so much of my life being so absorbed in my own feelings and taking everything personally, that I didn’t even notice how other people felt. That, I’ve atoned for and put that behavior in the past. But now the pendulum has swung way too far in the other direction, and I’ve ended up becoming far too worried about hurting other people’s feelings. Not that other people and their feelings shouldn’t be a consideration — they should! Just not to the point of neglecting yourself. I’m thinking this might be a thinly veiled excuse to ignore, or not have to deal with my own feelings. Not acceptable!

3. Not carving out enough time for my family. My brother and his wife live here in NYC, so I see them often enough, but the rest of my family doesn’t. They all the way across the country in Arizona. My best friend lost her mother very suddenly this year and it has made me realize just how important it is to try to connect with your family while they’re still here. I’d like to make a concerted effort to visit more, spend more time, and, God forbid even though I hate talking on the phone with a passion, phone home more often.

4. Overbooking myself to the point of exhaustion. Imagine a life where you never have more than an hour or two to yourself, and it’s usually right before bed. That’s what my life became this year. I’m definitely an active, extroverted people person, but I really, really need time to myself. I need time to do nothing and just let my brain zone out and come up with creative ideas or to go on a bike ride or do something¬†frivolous. That stuff makes me happy. Not only have I become an exhausted shell of my former self, but I’ve noticed my creative energy draining slowly. I’ve stopped being able to sleep and eventually, my insomnia started giving me anxiety. This all stems from not having enough free time do whatever I feel like. It may mean that my best friends don’t see me for a few weeks. It’s nothing personal. I’ll have to trust that their feelings won’t be too hurt and that they’ll understand that I need time to have a “Cupcake Wars” marathon.

5. Neglecting my workout routine. Working out is the thing that keeps me sane. Yoga is my way of feeling connected to myself. With this whole overbooking thing, the time to work out has slipped away from me. And with it has gone my calm and sanity and ability to sleep at night (I think I mentioned this). This past week, I hit the yoga studio three times and I felt like a new woman, actually like the woman I used to be. I even dragged my new boyfriend (GASP! YES! I HAVE A NEW BOYFRIEND! More on that another time!) with me to a yoga class. So I’m hoping that he will support me in this endeavor and I can multitask boyfriend and yoga time occasionally.

OK. Your turn. Even if you’re not a Jew, or if you’re a less-than-devout Jew like mew, what do you want to atone for? Confess here without judgement.