There comes a time in everyone’s life that we need to stop for a minute, a day or even longer and think what kind of a path we are on. Back in 6th Form (high school) we were asked to write a note to ourselves ten years later. It was a regular Polish language lesson and we didn’t exactly know why we needed to do so. How were we even supposed to conceive an idea of where we saw ourselves in ten years and what we wanted to achieve? I was eighteen then, which, betraying my age, was almost 11 years ago. That means that I am in my 10th year following that note.
So what did I write? I wrote that by the age of 28 I wanted to be married and not lose faith in Hashem. Did I manage to achieve these goals? It’s actually funny that I chose to write things that are completely out of my control. I mean, I can’t just meet a random guy on the street and force him to marry me, though a random guy wouldn’t be difficult to convince. With regards to faith – is it even mine to say I have it? Can I give myself more faith or can I take it away? Can I control it in any way? So in short, I wrote down things that have nothing to do with how much I strive to achieve them or want them. On the contrary things that I haven’t written down, such as, university, jobs, etc thank G-d are going quite well so far. Oh yes, it makes sense now to answer whether I have managed to achieve these two things. Who knows me knows the answer to the first ‘goal’ and it gives me a sense of pleasure knowing how very few people actually know the answer to that question and as to the second ‘goal’ it is really not mine to achieve. I have never stopped believing in Hashem and it looks like (I’m a religious person so you may disagree with me) He also hadn’t yet given up on me, which would be a shame if it happened. Despite all less than wonderful things that happened for the past 5 years especially since I left home, including doctors shaking over me that I could die anytime, it appears that I am still standing, well, actually I am lying down in bed, sick, coughing and squeaking (I lost my voice for a couple of days), however I am not just alive, but living thank G-d.
So at the age of 28, going on 29 (my birthday is on 13th Nisan if someone wants to surprise me) I can easily conclude that we have absolutely no idea where our lives will take us, or find us. I’m sure you, whoever you are, insane enough to follow me here, had dreams about yourself in the future and I wonder, if where you are now is where you imagined yourself to be. With my hand on my heart I can say that – no. I did not have the faintest idea about where I would find myself in ten years time and, guess what, whatever idea it was – this isn’t the reality I am experiencing now. My life now has surpassed all my imaginations, all wildest, craziest and most insane dreams. I often wonder where I would be had my parents not bought me the ticket to London. I wouldn’t have become religious, for sure. I wouldn’t have tapped into my Jewish heritage. I wouldn’t be in Israel; there is no doubt about that. I wouldn’t have met these exceptional minds that I can call my friends. I wouldn’t be the person I am now, had I not have gone through all the joys and sorrows of life away from the sheltered home.
I spoke with my dad few weeks ago, as he is one of the people that is insane enough, but that because he loves me, and apparently I am the joy of his life (according to mum), to follow my blog and he asked what ‘nedida’ meant. I explained that it’s from Hebrew and it means ‘a wanderer’. “Befitting your current situation I say”. I guess he is right. I think you become a wanderer when you don’t have a place that you can come to and say that it’s yours; when the only place of refuge is your own heart and mind. I don’t know exactly why when someone wanders they are instantly compared to Gypsies. Fair enough they do wander and people do not have an excellent opinion about them especially in Eastern Europe, but do you really need to know where you are going not to be or feel lost? Do we actually know where we are going? We have goals, yes, we need to stay focused, but do we actually know where our lives will take us?
I asked my mum, who is really a life inspiration for me, whether she had known that she would eventually set up her own company and run so many people before all the developments happened that led her to that point in her life. Her answer was: “of course not! I took what was given to me and made it happen.” Isn’t she amazing? My dad is amazing too, of course. I didn’t see my dad until I was 9 years old though so I am naturally closer to my mum, also because it’s just not possible to talk to a man, even if he is my dad, about boyfriends, periods and other girlie things.
I think when you wander you realise one thing very quickly – that you don’t have a comfort zone. You have to make it, create it for yourself, somewhere where you find refuge. My ideal refuge would be my place, which I had to give up long time ago, with my vintage leather Chesterfield sofa, now sold, surrounded by books, now in my parent’s attic; wrapped in a blanket and with a mug of hot chocolate. I forgot about my cats, one was called Peretz and one Zerach. They were both transferred to their adoptive families. Nevertheless when life is not about relaxing, but moving forward and you make a choice to give up things because they slow you down, suddenly you have no sofa to sit on or a cat to pet. What you have is what you can carry and what you can carry the longest when you tire from the journey is your heart and mind.
I do not agree that people who wander, who are not settled by the generally established social standard, are lost. I think these are the people that are finding themselves, who are daily discovering new things about them. They went on a journey because they felt lost on the sofa encapsulated by the cocoon of books.
Whatever you thought you would be and you are not, or you feel like you aren’t, you’re probably wrong. I can bet that you are exactly where you need to be to find another piece of you, one that was lost, but the one that is essential to complete you so you can continue walking and fulfil your potential. It’s certainly not easy, especially when you think about all the things that you need to do, and roads that have been blocked off, so you need to find new ones, but this is the only life you are aware of now and if you don’t take the risk, it’s like you’ve never lived. Life is both beautiful and scary. Whenever you fell fear, just breathe and let go.