Tuesday, March 20, 2007

My Lonely Ego and I


Whenever I tell someone new that I'm a first year law student, I love watching their reaction. Mostly because I'm a dreadful, proud creature and being in law school is almost uniformly regarded as a wonderful achievement. I say almost, because it is not a completely uniform regard -there are the small pockets of the populace who don't understand why a religious girl so capable of doing more religious things would want to go out there in the big bad world and work so hard for so long when she might end up staying at home anyway, like some other very educated women of her family. There are also those that hear law school and think nothing negative but nothing too positive either -I'm twenty-one, I belong in school, I'm in school, no big deal. But as I said, those are only pockets and the general garment of humanity is usually impressed with my bright-eyed and bushy-tailed law school life. So I love watching the reaction -the widening of the eyes, the hesitant smile, and the ubiquitous "Oh really? That's so great!" and the occasional "good for you" that make it all worthwhile.

But it's not all fun and games you know. The works not too bad -I actually find it interesting, the people are super nice, and the teachers generally care that we learn something. I only have tests in the middle and the end of the year and the stress level is less than it was when I taught high school girls lessons from the parsha of the week.

But life is more than "what I'm doing now" -it's about my soul and about my heart. I guess I'm saying that it's not so easy. I feel as though I'm letting my life slip by without any actual growth, and the worst part of it is that I remember when I used to grow and how simple it was. Take a new thing upon yourself -something small, not too hard -and that was it. Now it's like, take something upon yourself not to not do, or something to do for once that hasn't been done in months. Whenever I remember the growing Okee, she seems so far away. And even though I think of her often, and her voice though distant is still heard, I can barely remember her face. If she were here, what would she tell me to inspire me to grow? What would she do?

This pondering, I know, is quite ridiculous, since I'm Okee and she is me, and I'm remembering a past self that's barely in the past...and when did the past self drift into the past, separating from the present self?

And that's just the matter of the soul. I also have a very big, beautiful heart to contend with. I'm lonely. I have friends -great friends -married friends, engaged friends, friends with babies, non-Jewish friends, non-religious friends, super busy friends, out-of town friends, friends with midterms...so many friends. But I need more than that. And beyond the loneliness, I want to face life with another -to work toward something higher than my own growth and my own needs...I really want to get married. Sounds so...cliche' -a single girl who wants to get married. Bet you haven't heard that story before. But who cares about the corniness of it all, it needs to happen. I know this, Hashem surely knows this, and life is so hard for so many to face alone...

Well, meanwhile, I have much to occupy my time. Growth in mind, livelihood, spirit, family, friends...I love my life as is, as it's given to me, and I recognize it all comes from Hashem. And any dissatisfaction I have with it all has also been given to me, as a half of a whole, as one person without the other. So, I guess, besides all the regular hishtadlus like dating and davening, I can do something a little extra to add to my merits, and now that I'm writing this it seems so obvious: I should really stop being so proud that I'm in law school and stop telling people just to get a reaction. It's really not so well done of me. At least until I pass the bar, I should not let my head grow too swollen. After all, if I do get married soon (from my mouth to G-d's ear!), I do want to be able to fit into a sheitel.

4 comments:

Scraps said...

I don't know how to say this the right way, so forgive me if it comes out wrong: I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing that you're lonely. That loneliness will anchor you and remind you to take care of yourself, that past Okee that you feel like you left behind. It will spur you to look for that other half and not get settled and content being on your own. Being single, especially past a certain age (which depends on your social circle), is a hard position to be in, because on the one hand, you don't want to sink into depression c"v because you're not married--you have to live your life and be happy anyway. But at the same time, you have to be unhappy enough so that you don't get so used to it that you want to stay that way. Hence...being lonely isn't such a bad thing, at least sometimes.

Good luck, and I hope your loneliness is over soon!

SJ said...

You neglected to mention virtual friends in your list of friends (ok, I know virtual friends don't reeeeally count, but why not make the list as long as possible?). I only discovered your blog semi-recently, and you post only rarely...yet I have already derived much inspiration and enjoyment from your beautiful posts. Thank you.

Hatzlacha with all of your hishtadlus, may all your tefilos be answered, and have a chag kasher v'sameach!

Okee said...

scraps --you're so right, and I completely agree with you! Happiness is great, but not when it becomes complacency.
I would probably say the same thing to a friend who sounded like I did in this post!

sj --how could I have been so silly? Of course virtual friends are in my "list" (oh, that makes me sound so suave and popular), especially friends like you, who just can pop in and say something so sweet and inspirational to me in only a few sentences!

Thank YOU:) And amen, and have a happy pesach!

David_on_the_Lake said...

That was beautiful...so honest and funny and just good....
You should be proud f who you are and what you accomplish and there is a healthy way to feel good about yourself without the swollen head.