Six Weeks Until I Break the Streak
I’ve got a great streak going on 750words.com. As I’ve boasted previously, I’m really doing well there right now. I’ve written at least 750 words every day for the past 124 days. I’m not sure what changed, but somehow it has built itself into the fabric of my days.
Even when I was so desperately ill in January, I still banged out 750 words of gibberish onto my phone, lying in bed. I haven’t dared go back and look at what I wrote doing those days when I was convinced I was on a mission to humanity from the mother ship. But at least it demonstrates that I’ve been taking this streak seriously. Even Shabbat couldn’t interfere – no matter how busy I am on a Friday, I sit down and write my 750 words before Shabbat comes in, and it is usually the first thing I do after Havdallah. What matters is to get my words in before midnight.
Now I’m planning when I’m going to break that streak. In six weeks and one day, to be precise. Say what?
That is the countdown to Passover. When I have two days in a row that I can’t use the computer, my streak will be broken. It is a choice I have deliberately chosen to make, because even though the streak is important to me, keeping my holidays is more important.
It’s that kind of choice that makes being an observant Jew in the Diaspora the kind of challenge that it is. My husband and I have chosen to live in Canada for many reasons, and we love it here. But there is no doubt that we and our children have given up on many things that Canadians take for granted, because we march to our own, ancient drummer.
I’m not talking just about not being able to go to the main Farmers’ Market on Saturdays or missing out on the karate club’s annual barbecue. It’s about rescheduling exams, missing class (some university classes have a maximum number of times you are allowed to miss, and that leaves no leeway for illness or other legitimate reasons for absence) and negotiating extra days off work. It makes us … different. And when you are a young person, different is not always good.
My children have been in a Jewish school all their lives, but my eldest is about to step out into the world and discover what it is like to be a religious minority. He already has an inkling (did I mention that barbecue?), but I expect some serious culture shock when he starts university in the fall.
I came to this level of observance slowly, with a full understanding of what I was choosing when I created for myself this island in time, of Shabbat and the holidays. My children have known no other life. I cannot wait to see how they work it out for themselves, what they are willing to do and what is important to them. I don’t know which way they will go, whether they will keep that island or let it sink.
Maybe they will do both, letting it go while they are young and impatient, and bringing it back once they realise its importance. Maybe they will stick to it, because they already understand it now. Or maybe they will let it go altogether. That last option would make me sad, but I cannot live their lives for them.
So, as I enjoy my current streak and already know when it will end, I cannot help but ponder on the choices we make in our lives, what we give up and what we get in return. I can’t go to the Farmers’ Market or participate in any Saturday activity that requires driving or writing, but I have a day to escape from the stresses of the world, to rest and read and enjoy my family.
How about you, have you made limiting choices that made you richer in the end? Please share!