Back in December I was eagerly awaiting the New Year. 2016 - an even number, a nice round figure, a leap year. All things that please a number geek like me.
My daughter had just turned 7 and was enjoying new independence and a blossoming social life. My employment situation had improved too, meaning we still have to be frugal but I don't have to worry about the regular bills. It was time to shift the focus from surviving to improving. And of course nothing could officially start until January 1st 2016. Of course.
At 12.30 am on December 31st 2016 I got the call that expats dread. We spent the rest of that day getting to London for the funeral, and the first week of the new year sitting shiva.
Returning to Jerusalem on January 6th I didn't feel like facing the new year with gusto. it was a strange feeling, not exactly grieving but a constant thinking about the new reality. It was hard to get my head round the fact that my father was gone. I thought about it and him every day. I still do - usually when I remember that I've forgotton to say Kaddish (the mourners' prayer)..... again.
It was also cold and wet outside and apartments here are very much geared to summer weather. Having missed a week of work, it was taking forever to catch up. I'd put on even more weight during the shiva week as we just sat and talked to visitors whilst being offered endless cups of tea and cake. And at mealtimes my sister's community had a rota so that delicious lunches and suppers were delivered twice a day.
I thought February might be different as the official 30 days of interim mourning finished. (It goes: intensive shiva for a week, 30 days of interim mourning, and 11 months of semi-mourning - each with its own customs). However, as the weather didn't change, neither did my spirit.
|Lavender growing in my school's garden|
I've always felt that March 1st is in many ways more of a New Year than January 1st. I've written before about starting again in March. The sun comes out and it's warmer (I can put away the heaters), the trees start to blossom, the flowers appear, it's not too long until the spring holidays of Purim and Pesach. To use a cliche, you can fling open the windows and let in the warm fresh air.
So here we are at the beginning of March and I embraced it wholeheartedly. There are Resolutions. I tried that 'choose-a-word-for-the-year' thing but it didn't work for me. I realized this when I was leaning towards the word 'discipline' and then went back to see that I'd chosen 'discipline' for both 2015 and 2014 (when it was invented). I've also bucked the trend of New Year guidelines and intentions, suggetions, or whatever. I've gone back to good old fashioned New Year Resolutions.
1. To do with health and fitness (for a change).
2. To do with work.
3. To do with home.
4. To do with fullfilment.
5. To do with all the other stuff.
I kept it simple.
HAPPY NEW YEAR II ! xxxxx