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You Are Entitled To Your Journey


When I was a little girl I took an I.Q. test. They pushed me from kindergarten into first grade.
Later on they pushed me from 5th grade into 6th, to manage an out-of-control rabbi (e.g. rather than fire the rabbi, who wound up getting fired anyway for smacking a student to the floor in front of the entire class).
I was always two years ahead of my peers. Intellectually, that was fine. Socially it caused problems. You can't grill people into adulthood like a steak. No. People need slow-simmering, like a good winter stew.
It got in my head that life was all about rushing. Degree - another degree - family - kids - job - sequentially and simultaneously.
I imparted this ethic to my kids: "Hurry up, get it done, don't waste time." Etc.
Time has passed and I've started to wonder.
Sometimes it feels like rushing has become the point of life. Instead of the means to an end, where we get to stop rushing all the time.
My mom called me yesterday before Passover.
"Your sister is upset." 
"Why?"
"Someone they know, a cantor, young. Just dropped dead out of the blue."
It's always hard to look inside so I think about comments I make to my marketing students. In comments to them on discussion posts.
What I'm always saying: "Slow down. Have you even read your work?"
Their generic response: "I have a full-time job. I'm doing the best I can. I need to pass."
For school to teach you anything, though, you have to stop enough to learn. The degree is not worth the paper it is printed on anymore - everybody has one. You're better off with the skill of thinking critically. Of being a reflective person.
The Kindle has not helped matters at all. Books used to be in print, on paper. When you read one, you really stopped to read. You had to think. 
Now you just flip through them.
Social events took place in person and they weren't Facebook opportunities. You sat at the Sabbath table and you argued. You went to the barbecue and kicked back with friends. You attended the game and rooted for your kids. Stuck your head through the twisted iron fence. You watched their expression as they tried to score a point or two.
Now the event's end is determined by that moment you got a good photo and posted it online.
The other day I saw these two girls on the Metro. One of them was taking a picture of her own face. She smooched at the screen until she was satisfied and then snapped it. 
Were they spending time together or alone? Each in their own world, waiting for an eventual "Like" on a status.
What I want to say to whoever reads this, is that you are entitled to your personal journey, as am I. As is everyone. Stop rushing from one experience to the next, one accomplishment to another, grasping at the high of this endpoint and that. Let your life be messy, and slow, and unfinished every once in a while.
Before you die, let yourself really live.

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