Aging has, to say the least, been an interesting experience. Balding, excessive weight gain, creaky knees. It’s been interesting. But with age, I have found, also comes life wisdom. I’m not sure when, or why, but a few months ago I philosophized on some deep life wisdom: I should do things that I enjoy doing. It seems pretty simple, pretty self explanatory and self evident, but somehow this idea was lost on me for many years.
Don’t get me wrong– I have always been very happy and content– but as my family grew, I simply stopped making time to do things I love doing.
But as I reflected on a very busy past few months, I noticed I have been in a better mood lately. I have been happier, and more energized. When I reflected why that was, it occurred to me: I have been doing things I like doing!
Starting back in November my wife and I did something we never have done–we went away on a five day vacation. And not just to celebrate a wedding with some dear former students, or to visit family. We went to Hawaii to tour the enchanting island, together. I love traveling, and I love my wife– traveling with my wife was an incredible experience.
In December, I was able to help lead an educational trip to Poland– while leaving family is always brutally difficult, I was able to do two things I love– travel, and learn. I learned a tremendous amount in Poland and my understanding of the Holocaust, and Jewish life in Europe before the War was further developed and sharpened.
In January, I attended a 2-day running retreat. As I have noted in these pages, I participated in a program called Rabbis can Run in which 25+ rabbis from across the country trained together for a 10k in Florida. I came to learn, that I love running and improving my health, I love Florida in January, and I love learning about Judaism’s perspective on health and fitness.
In mid-January, we started participating in a weekly Top Golf league, where, for an extremely low cost, we go whack the golf ball into the dark night sky while nursing a beer. Is there any greater physical pleasure than that?
At the end of January, I took my two boys on a ski trip to Vail. I will never forget the euphoria I felt on the night before a ski day when I grew up, and the thrill of shredding down the mountain, feeling the wind blow across my face as I flew down the mountain. The beauty of the mountains is not only breath-taking, but awe-inspiring, and immensely therapeutic. Sitting in the hot tub in 6 degree weather downing a cold one is a unique pleasure in this world. And doing all of this with my sons is the greatest thing of all.
Finally, a few days ago, towards the end of my kids’ winter break, we took a short family getaway to a retreat center in the mountains. Snow Tubing with my 2 year old, roller skating and playing ball with the kids, and playing Apples to Apples with my wife and three oldest kids was simply delightful.
Now, there are no more trips planned, and nothing exciting coming up– just a cold, snowy winter ahead. But I now know that I must focus on the daily joys of life, and to continue to do the things that make me happy!