A Hebrew greeting - wishing everyone a happy new year. Conveniently, Rosh Hashanah falls into the same time I celebrate my Cape Cod New Year – a yearly tradition where I visit the historical landings of ancestors where they unsuccessfully docked in Provincetown before finally establishing solid ground in Plymouth Rock.
Along the stone-carved memorials implanted within the walls of Pilgrim Monument, I try to envision all the names and what they hoped and dreamt on a daily basis.
I hope and dream a lot, myself. And I have to say that I’m really lucky this year has allowed me to fulfill dreams and bringing hope to a minimum to the point where I am only hoping that I can hold my own on what is in front of me without feeling the need to sacrifice my time, my beliefs, my values. As a result, this year has been a new juggling act.
With the degree of stalling that 2016 had emotionally demonstrated, this year has been far from it.
As the upswing ensued so did my responsibilities, as the responsibilities began to pile up, so did opportunities to create and perform. Even my relationships with friends and family suddenly felt more solid. Although, this was a lot to hold on my plate, I couldn’t feel more blessed and every struggle, every ounce of effort, couldn’t have felt more rewarding. However, I found myself confronted by the harsh terms of reality. Just because I am doing a lot better, doesn’t mean I am suddenly immune to hardships.
I was starting to solidify the first draft of a short play to be submitted to my friend’s theatre company, only to have my usual good heath disrupted by, what looked like, a cancerous lesion, stemming from an infection. After surgery, a decision was made to do immunotherapy to eradicate the infection from my body.
With the new, strict, dietary, lifestyle that immunotherapy requires, I am now one of those typical, pain-in-the-ass, patrons who will need the exact ingredients on every desirable entrée when dining out. Thankfully, there is always coffee and tea. Okay, so I have to watch the grams of sugar every time I have to order soy milk at Starbucks. So what! My first cup of “dietary adjusted” coffee was a celebratory moment when I finally got to discuss the first draft of my short play with the friend and her director...and they enjoyed it! They found it comedic, they provided helpful feedback on revisions. It's on it's way into pre-production!!
12 hours later...
I watched areas that held lots of favorite childhood memories being demolished as Hurricane Harvey ripped into Rockport Texas. And it didn’t stop there. Watching the storm threaten the lives of family and friends as the torrential down pours dominated and destroyed Houston.
I felt I did everything I could to help, majorly due to social media and I was elated to see the true Texan spirit rise up as enormous crowds stepped to the plate to help each other.
...So with the euphoric highs and the unexpected lows this year has brought, I’m inclined to ask:
What is the true meaning behind all of this?
When I was going through a devastating time, ten years ago, my Dad gave me this book, entitled We Are Not Afraid by Homer Hickam and if there is one moral, from this book, that has always stayed with me and resonates on the matters, today, is that “Great actions come with great responsibilities.” I wanted so much to have the opportunities in 2016 that I now have in 2017. I now have the power to say “yes!” to everything. However, now that I have committed to so many visions, I now have to deliver. And when I don’t meet my deadlines or I turn in an assignment late, or I overestimated the simplicity of certain projects, not only am I responsible for these failures, I’m now responsible for the guilt and the shame rising in me, which at times has been very hard to manage.
As I said before, this year has been a constant juggling act. Is it good? Is it bad? I don’t think it is right to judge it.
As I start to pack for Cape Cod, I imagine the walls along the steps of the Pilgrim Monument. What if it was the same for these brave individuals? What if life was a juggling act?
Didn’t they have to learn to grow maze? Build shelter? Keep their dream of the new world alive, while the concerns of health and the safety of loved ones lingered?
The trip is just 8 hours away. I embark on this ritual cleanse, this reflection, this insight and rejoice that this year has been a world of wonder, may the Cape show me that there is so much more to this journey than what I’ve seen all along.
Since I can’t have the honey, I’ll stick with just the apple. I raise it to the sun and propose a toast:
May this juggling act continue...Come what may, here’s to the New Year! Here’s to life!
- Shana Tova!