About two years ago while working at the non-profit organization I helped form, Faiths United for Sustainable Energy (FUSE), I made the decision to go to law school in order to pursue a career in environmental law. I just started my second semester of classes two weeks ago. The interesting thing about law school is that grades are not released until five to six weeks after final exams are finished. Therefore, despite already being back into the daily ground of second semester classes, I am still waiting for several of my grades from last semester (in law school 100% of a student’s grade is based on the final examination). This waiting process has created a great deal of stress and anxiety for everyone at school. So why am I writing about this in my monthly blog? What the heck does this have to do with Jewcology?
My answer to this question is probably going to sound cliché, but that is only because it is so simple. It is so easy to get “caught up,” that we can quickly lose all perspective. In my case, the daily grind of law school, especially when dealing with examinations and the rat race for grades that comes with it, made it so easy for me to forget why I decided to attend law school in the first place. For you it may be dealing with stress from your job or the constant hustle that goes along with having a family. That is not to say that taking ones responsibilities seriously is not important. However, it is so important that we remind ourselves what is truly important and to put everything in perspective.
So you still might be asking how this post ( what may seem to be more like a diary entry) has to do with Jewcology. I think most of us who interact on Jewcology define a large part of our identity through environmentalism, whether in our professional job, in our volunteer work, or through our personal behavior. However, it is so easy to forget the meaning behind our actions and simply get caught in the muck of life.
As I received my last grades on January 20th (and took a gasp of fresh air which I was hoping would revive my sanity), it occurred to me that I had missed Tu B'Shevat. I logged on to Jewcology and read a wonderful post about environmentalism and Tu B’Shevat and I was overcome with disappointment . How is that possible? I missed a holiday that is built into the Jewish calendar to celebrate nature and the wonderful foods that our earth provides. I lost perspective. I spent so much time worrying over things I no longer had control over (exams were over in December) that I forgot about celebrating the very thing that drove me to attend law school in the first place.
The great thing about losing perspective is that there is always a chance, not only to regain it, but to attain more clarity that one had before the loss. I am going to make an effort this year to celebrate Tu B'Shevat at least once a month. Whether by taking a hike, strolling through the park, or even reading a magazine dealing with nature, I am going to make an effort to keep it all in perspective. My challenge for everyone reading this blog is to do the same. When life gets crazy, challenge yourself (and I will do the same) to remember the real purpose behind what you are doing. Especially regarding environmental issues, when the battles are often uphill, I urge you to keep it all in perspective and remember why you started that charge uphill in the first place.