The two super-big-deal-important holidays in Judaism — the High Holy Days as we in the Tribe call ‘em — are 10 days apart. Those 10 days are also rather special, and you’re called upon to look back on your past year and use those 10 days to clean up your act and do better the next time around. Maybe it’s the proximity to New Year’s and resolution setting, or just the benefit of seeing myself in different settings, but I always find that process of self-reflection and goal setting easier in the Thanksgiving to winter break period than those 10 days in early fall.
Adopting such an annual practice has helped me in a couple of ways. First, there’s less pressure to do that first visit right. And, without this pressure, I tend to do a better job during the Thanksgiving round. Second, I don’t dwell as much on my screw-ups. The immature transgressions blow, but I can take it and be that much better on my return.
This year, I was gleefully pleased with myself and my supposed maturity in handling Thanksgiving Day. From family dynamics to navigating old relationships, I thought I succeeded in acts of adult-like class and conduct. Well. Not two days later did I find myself cowering behind a coffee mug to avoid having an adult-like conversation with just one of those old relationships, who I’ve fallen out of touch with in the past year. So much for all that maturity. While I certainly feel like an idiot for acting like a 12- not 21-year-old, it’s not in a mopey, disappointed way. My sister and I were already laughing at my foolishness that evening, and I’m confident that come our winter break run-in, I’ll be ready to behave as the adult I like to think of myself as being.
One of the best parts of this little scheme of mine is that it’s actually not dependent at all on my being in college. You youngins on campus won’t totally understand this, I’m sure. But, I find a supreme amount of comfort when I can identify ways in which my process of self growth need not be complete come June. This Thanksgiving to winter holidays can easily be translated out of the college setting and gives me an ongoing justification for not quite having it all figured out.
These three weeks fly by, but I always find them to be the most important in my non-academic growth at Princeton. This year, I invite you to join me and give it a try.
Lily Alberts is an economics major from Nashville, Tenn. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.