Nothing clears your mind more than getting away from your everyday life. Anytime you need a reset, a fresh perspective, some peace of mind – just take a day and get away. Even an hour. Right? That’s how I thought it was supposed to be at least.
So why, after a weekend with my father in Vienna, Austria am I not feeling refreshed like I thought I would be?
After two very, very difficult weeks, I was able to get away in the hugest sense of the word. I was in another country, one I’ve never been to before, alone for two of the days -sightseeing and touring while he was working – and at nights and the last day with my father for the first time in three months. How much more removed can one get than that? But a weird phenomena happened to me. I started to get confused about what my reality was.
Here I was, with my father, some of his employees, and even, for a bit, a friend of mine from high school, Chiara, all the way on the other side of the world. It was almost a mini ‘Toga in the middle of Vienna’s Stephanzplatz. After two weeks of being nervous, stressed, frustrated and feeling helpless about a complication with the administration of my place of volunteering (coupled with my birthday being during the time when the Israelis were on a different schedule because they had to work for the mechina), I started to feel slightly forgotten about, over exhausted and sick – so seeing my dad was surreal. And I started to wonder, why was I letting my volunteer organization get to me so much? Why am I getting caught up on the bad things that make me sad; forgetting that this year is for me to learn about myself? This year is for me. I need to remember that a lot of what I am doing is for me. And that what I am doing here, in Israel, is not my ONLY reality.
But I have more than one reality?
Yeah … I have more than one reality now. Being with my dad was like snapping into a different reality. I suddenly had my father telling me we need to get me medicine for the cold I still had last weekend. It wasn’t just me looking after myself. We were having discussions about our days! We were even having conversations about days that happened weeks and months ago and it was like no time had passed.
But time has passed.
The mechina has also become my reality.
For one year. I am here. My dad isn’t. My reality is quite different. And I accept it. I like it.
But does that mean that what my reality is at home is not my reality anymore? Or will it always be my reality?
And what does reality even mean?!
My reality is my life … but what is my life made up of right now. In this moment. As I sit on a bus with my friends coming back from a two day seminar learning about the economics and society in the north of the country, I can’t help but wonder what is my life?
What makes it up? The ingredients.
In Saratoga, I had my family, school, friends, temple, my town, the things I did, my hobbies. All the physical things I used to have … a lot of them are not here with me now.
In my life right now, I have new friends, different family members, a mechina, volunteering, less time to do my hobbies or not even the possibility to do them.
It seems like my two lives don’t have any intersection. I am a puzzle piece that completes two different puzzles. And sometimes I wonder if life is supposed to be like that. In high school I had my school life, my social life, and my family life. But they were still one. They somehow all worked together to make up me.
I can’t quite describe it. Maybe this is similar to college. Maybe it isn’t. What I do know is that when I was with my dad, I started thinking this is my year to not worry as much about consequences and mistakes – because I can learn from them – because this is just a single year and isn’t my only life. This isn’t my only reality.
And then I think about going back to the old life I lead and I can’t quite picture how I would cope. Because I love this place. The people. What I’m doing. How I am learning to balance what I need and what I want and need to do for the mechina. Everything.
Regardless, seeing my dad for a weekend was beyond words. I was so happy and I missed him so much that no matter how I try to describe it, it will just sound insufficient. It was hands down the best birthday/Thanksgiving present I could have ever recieved! I love you, dad, and the only thing that could have made weekend better was if the rest of the family could have made it, too.
Unfortunately, we can’t get everything. We just need to be grateful for what we do have, I guess. Not to be cheesy.
So on that note, happy (late) Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you had a meaningful, turkey-filled holiday.