Being Proud: A Reflection at the End of 2012

Yesterday I had the opportunity to update my personal CV, something I hadn’t done in quite a few years. There really was no excuse for not having done this. Everyone says you are supposed to do it regularly, and in fact there have been several times in the last couple of years when people have asked for my CV just as a way to learn about me. But with my relatively steady and hectic pace of life, I hadn’t made time for it. And it’s not like I was looking for a job! In fact, with my multiple roles (mother, EPA employee, Canfei Nesharim director, Jewcology team leader), sometimes it feels like I have too many jobs rather than too few.

Then, yesterday, I had some quiet time, and I sat down to try to pull it all together.

A curriculum vitae means “the course of life.” It’s supposed to capture everything from your work accomplishments and community leadership to your personal status, publications, and awards.

The CV covered my ten years of running Canfei Nesharim, starting it as a fledging idea and ultimately engaging Jewish communities, creating meaningful Torah content, developing Jewcology, the Jewcology Leadership Trainings, and playing a leadership role in the Green Hevra. It included my twelve years at EPA, creating and maintaining EPA’s International Programs website, being the youngest member of the U.S. Delegation at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, being the lead for public advisory committees for the North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation. The many publications I’ve had: in Washington Jewish Week, On Faith, the Jerusalem Post, Conversations, My Jewish Learning, EJewish Philanthropy. The four books I’ve edited. Married, I wrote, mother of seven year old son.

At this point, I got overwhelmed.

Looking at the set of things we’ve accomplished together, I felt a profound gratitude to G-d, and something else that I rarely allow myself: I felt proud.

It’s funny how feeling proud and feeling humbled are really not opposites. For me, it seems they are often tied together in the same experience.

When I got to listing my awards, I realized I had a little stack of them, awards that I had not even acknowledged but had just piled in the corner of my EPA desk. And I thought: “Evonne, what a goofball you’ve been! Stressing out about every detail and almost never taking the time to reflect on the difference you’ve made and the amazing things you have built.”

I’ve had my eye constantly focused on the things that need to be created, fixed, made better. I’ve had a vision for this amazing sustainable future we’re trying to create. In the space between here and that future, I’ve always felt insignificant. We aren’t there yet, and so there is no reason to stop, to rest, to celebrate.

Yesterday, looking at my “course of life,” I felt a warm pressure on my chest, a tightness in my throat, a kind of glowing feeling, and a sense of satisfaction and peace. Since then, I’ve been trying to keep in mind that no matter how messy each individual moment looks, in the midst of the hectic pace of life, I’m building some amazing things.

Of course, I haven’t done it alone. We are doing that together. And every now and then (or maybe even a little more often than that!), we’re allowed to feel proud.

What accomplishments are you proud of from 2012 or even from the last five or ten years? Take a moment.

Whatever happens next, whatever the next challenge will be, just for this moment we can know: we really have made a difference already.

It’s a precious knowing that I am committed to keeping with me.

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