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The Jewish Report Editorial

Live for the moment

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As we are about to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, I have been marvelling at how fast the year has flown by, not necessarily happily as nobody wants their lives to fly past. It seems to me that the year has sped by, and at this moment, it feels like I simply haven’t done enough in the time.

And, as you will see when you read the opinion piece by Rav Avtzon, I mentioned this to a couple of rabbis when I asked that they write for our special Rosh Hashanah edition.

His reaction was to write about it in his OpEd, succinctly pointing out to me and everyone else who feels this way to reconsider the mindset that this idea presents.

Avtzon makes the point that it could mean we’re not reflecting or processing our experiences enough.

He says a full year doesn’t fly by, and it’s incumbent on us to make sure that time counts. It’s up to us to make the months, days, hours, even moments count.

How do we do that?

To me it means needing to live in the present. To live in the now. How much time do we spend preparing for something – a deadline, a job, an event, while time passes us by? So many of us spend our present hankering or perhaps regretting the past, and worrying about the future.

How often do we sit with people who are special to us, and our minds wander to what time we have to leave or something we have to prepare for? How often do we pass something beautiful and not notice it? How often does someone say something meaningful to us, and we don’t absorb it?

How often do we check our phones repetitively, and not actually be in a moment that could be special if we involved ourselves in it?

I know I’m guilty of many of these things, and that’s not how I want to live my life.

I guess the first step is to be conscious of it, and make a concerted effort to savour the moment, be it writing my editorials once a week, interviewing someone for a story, dancing, going for a walk, reading a good book, spending time with my phenomenal family and friends, or just being.

I don’t want to get to this time next year and not be able to look back on special moments in my year and recognise them for what they are, not just seconds that sped past like a freight train.

Though this specific insight hit home for me, it’s that time of year when we’re all looking for the “aha” moments that will bring us home to ourselves and guide us to find what it is in our lives we want to change.

Avtzon’s writing is just one of the incredibly insightful opinion pieces written specially for this Rosh Hashanah edition. We’re so lucky to have access to such great minds.

It may be something that another spiritual leader wrote, or perhaps one of the school children, or one of our journalists that gives you food for thought. Hopefully, there will be more than just one piece in this edition that will offer you guidance in finding the change you want to make in your life. It may be a tiny alteration to your life that will make the difference, or perhaps a mammoth change that you believe is necessary. Only you know what you need to enhance your moments, days, and months to come.

That’s what this time of year, Rosh Hashanah and the high holidays, is all about.

For me, it’s also about looking at mistakes made and the things we might have said that could have hurt someone. I do believe it’s a rare individual who goes out to hurt people. I’m not one of those. But, as we’re all human, we’re imperfect, and it can and does happen.

I would like to look at what triggered the anger or hurt, and try to find ways to avoid it. Perhaps that means not taking life, work – everything really – so seriously. Perhaps it means bringing lightness into every day. I can’t specifically say, but this is the stuff that I would like to work on.

So, I have given you some insight into what I believe I could do to make my life and the life of those around me better.

What do you believe you need?

Some of us are battling demons far bigger than anything I have mentioned above – with grief or financial devastation. There are so many reasons for people’s lives to go off track. For them, it’s not simple. It’s not just about soul searching, but there are people who can and will help. They are out there in our community.

As we sit with Stage 6 loadshedding and doomsayers giving hopeless economic predictions, we can choose how to look at things. We can buy into the negativity, but we really don’t have to.

I know there are those who believe they are being pragmatic and realistic when they see the glass not just half empty, but shattered. Their pragmatism is, for me, negativity, and it doesn’t help anyone, certainly not the person who sees the world through those eyes.

I would much rather see the possibilities in our society, community, country, and world. That, too, is a choice.

I’m inspired by people like Lael Bethlehem, on this page, who sees solutions to problems others say are insurmountable. I’m inspired by people who see the potential in the inner city of Johannesburg, rather than the hopelessness.

At the end of the day, getting involved in uplifting our country is the best way to make sure it happens. Let’s get stuck in!

Shana tova and Shabbat shalom!

Peta Krost


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