Monday, April 25, 2005

I have absolutely no clue where I am holding...

When I read my blog entries, I cannot help to notice that I am screaming out for help. Yet, it is during times like now that I cannot figure out if there is really nothing wrong. Am I really NOT depressed? Am I just lazy and is it that I am taking myself too seriously?

When I compare myself to my peers, it seems to me that I am just as functional as they are. We all work hard and try to get a sufficient amount of work done, we all have a difficult time focusing and keeping our spirits up due to the volumes of material we must master, and we all have things going on in our personal life that we feel that we neglect because our personal lives are set aside due to our commitment to three years of law school.

People that know me believe me to be a generally healthy and cheerful individual. I am well balanced, and I manage my stress well. I am very dedicated to my morals, and at the same time, I am vulnerable to faults and failings.

The main issue that comes to my mind is that I am unable to live up to the high standards that I have set for myself to make it through law school and I am simply experiencing performance anxiety. For anyone with a commitment to anything other than their career, law school is anything but an easy experience. In fact, it might be one of the largest burdens I have ever placed on myself. Further, to reap the benefits of my struggles, I sometimes have serious worries that I will need to live the lifestyle of a high-paced Wall Street lawyer which would countermand any and all of my familial and religious values.

I read today in Kuntres Uma’ayon that a person is happiest when they strive to become better than they were made to be. Further, a person is only truly free when he is able to act in accordance with who he is. Taking this slightly out of context, today I was thinking that I was not meant to be lawyer who is stuck in an office counting billable hours. Rather, I was born to educate the world and to help people to evolve to the next level. The problem is 1) I am shy, 2) I have no message to teach, and 3) I don’t know what this evolution is, nor do I know how to move people closer to it. This saddens me because I wonder “how does one become a famous speaker when he has nothing of value to say?”

Then I look at my Rabbi and other families who measure their life not from year to year, but from minute to minute, and I realize that my goals are focused on the macro rather than the micro and that I might have missed the point in life. Instead of thinking that I only have another seventy Pesachs (a.k.a. years) to live, and instead of stressing that during these few years I may not be able to successfully find a wife, build a family with chassidishe children, have a blossoming career, and make an impact on the world (perhaps a seminal male desire, although there are females too who want to leave their mark), I look at my Rabbi and I realize that I could have it all wrong.

My Rabbi’s life is dedicated to helping other people to reach out and to connect with their creator. B”H (Baruch Hashem [Thank G-d]) he has several wonderful children, who have become that way because he and his wife have put their life energy into making them into the chassidishe children they have become. His life energy is spent doing cute things like changing diapers, cleaning milk-spit, learning Torah, building his shul (synagogue), and being a good father and a wonderful husband. He could spend the next eighty years doing just this and at the end of his life, I am sure that he would be very satisfied with what he has accomplished, knowing that every moment of his life has been dedicated to living the right way.

Me on the other hand -- I feel like I have no message. I have no vessel to carry out that message. I have no wife, I have no job, I have no family, and I have no money. I also have nothing to teach; and nothing to give to other people. I feel that I have no value, and even the wealth of information that I have acquired is not mine, but rather, it belongs to the people who have imparted the knowledge to me through their books and their instruction. Why would I want to be a parrot repeating their good and clear message? I hate being useless. But so far, this is all I am – a combination of many other people.

I realized a few days ago, and I probably wrote a blog on the fact that my character is made up of so many movie characters and people in my life that I have emulated. Yet if you asked me who “I” was, I wouldn’t know how to answer you. Last Erev-Shabbos (Friday night), I entered the Mikveh (ritual bath) changing area and a tiny child whose father was dunking asked me in a very cute voice “and who are you?” I answered in a despondent tone “I don’t know,” and the child shrugged his shoulders, said “me neither” and walked away.

Despite the cuteness of this event, the answer I gave rings true and is what probably gives me my grief. I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what I am going to do with my law degree, and I don’t know who I am going to be given for a wife. I also don’t know where I am going to live, and I don’t know whether I will be happy, wealthy, or childless and poor. I have a hard time seeing into my future because I don’t see a true path set out – I only see the path which is a resultant of the conglomerations of decisions that I have defaulted into making through fate or otherwise, and I don’t trust this path as being my true path. Not knowing who I am or and not knowing where I am going is probably the answer to why I have been so sad in these blogs. I wish one day soon to know the answer.


Daphnewood said...

Hirsch, you are just at a point in your life where you are "finding yourself". This is always an uncomfortable and stressful time. Questioning is good, not bad. Doubting is good, not bad. If you had all the answers and confidence you would be cocky, plain and simple. A truly good person knows there is always room for improvement. You have more to offer the world than you think. And also everyone is the sum of their life experiences. You take a little bit from this person or event and a little from that person or event. I am sure even your rabbi feels he is who is he is because of the people he has encountered and the choices he has made from each event.

Zoe Strickman said...

I wish that finding one's self was not such a process. It would be nice to have been handed a piece of paper upon birth that says "you are meant to do X. Now go do it the best you can." I've been reading all these books on different fields, and I have this terrible fear of being pidgeonholed into some "job" just to fill time for the rest of my life. I am sure everyone has this fear, but I don't want to miss my calling. I feel what it is, but I cannot put my finger on it or clarify it. So annoying. :) Thanks again for your encouraging post. It is from messages like this (and others) that I have benefited so much from having this blog.

Daphnewood said...

You are looking at this all wrong. Hirsch, it has taken me 17 years to complete a single bachelor's degree. In 2 weeks time I will have a diploma and I am happy about it. However, the diploma doesn't mean as much to me as the education and the classes I have taken over the years. It is the journey that matters most, not the end destination. Life is a gift. Enjoy every aspect of it. We live in America where blessings abound! If you find you do not like your career you can start over if you want at any time in your life. Not many countries can boast that privilege. Just be sure to think of this process as journey. There are some rough spots yes, but just over the hill is quite a view. Your life is meant to be lived, not endured. You should be thriving instead of surviving. There is a difference. For the most part I think you see life the same way. It is only when you get blue that you lose focus. with much care,