I have been thinking a lot about being here in Israel, and what that means to me. Would it matter if I stayed here? Would it make any difference to move someplace else?
Just before I went to the states for two weeks in September, I was getting very antsy and wanting to leave - wanting to be away from this place and its troubles, its battles, its heat (literally and figuratively).
I missed my family, my friends, familiar, comfortable things like Trader Joe's and my car and my favorite coffee shops where I know exactly what I want to order before I set foot in the shop.
But then when I got to Oregon (even when I arrived in the Newark airport), I felt so strange and very out of place. Here was my family, my familiar things, my friends, but it all felt so foreign to me - as if I were thinking about a dream that I had or some previous life-cycle.
I felt so happy to be with my family, especially the kids, whom I'm not getting to see grow up ( :0( ) but I also felt so out of place.
It's so ironic.
When I got back to Israel, I was so happy to be back among my "familiar" things (chuckle), back to my life.
It seems as though I've rent my life in two. It doesn't show any signs of clearing up, and I am quite sure that I will feel this bifurcation for a long time, if not my whole life. Sure, I grew up in Oregon. I have roots there, and family and friends, but I have a life here now. What I am supposed to do about it, I have no idea. It's just an observation from a completely new experience I guess. When I'm there I want to be here; when I'm here, I miss the people and places there, the green and the crisp Northwest air.
Then I called my aunt last week, and we had a really nice conversation. I've always felt very close to her, despite living miles apart for my whole life.
Just as we were saying our goodbyes, she stopped me and said, "Wait. I just want to know one thing - are you happy?"
I was so surprised because I didn't answer right away. It took me a few moments to think about it.
The answer is - yes, in some ways. But happiness as a result of moving here is not true happiness. Sure, I've followed my dream and it's been fulfilled beyond my wildest imagination. But if my happiness is based upon whether I succeed or not here, then I will be what I have been for the past six months - so worried about succeeding so that I could be happy and forgetting about actually BEING happy.
I had, somewhere in my consciousness, decided that the only way for me to be happy was to move to Israel. Once X, Y and Z happened, or once I achieved so many things on my list, then, not only would I be happy, happiness would come to me like the rain on a gray April morning in Eugene.
But why should I wait to be happy? Why can't I be happy now?
Why all this talk of happiness?
I recently made a fortuitous discovery, one that has greatly contributed to my happiness - I came across the blog of a woman named Gretchen Rubin (thanks Gretchen!) who embarked on what she has called "The Happiness Project"
It's a seemingly very simple but actually quite complex question - what contributes to my happiness (not leaving clothes strewn around, crossing off things from a to-do list, making small splurges, giving, receiving)? What doesn't contribute to my happiness (not getting enough sleep, not exercising, eating "fake food")?
More on this later, but I urge you to check it out. She, unlike yours truly, is generally very good about posting almost every day, and I've never been bored once - which is a success in itself.