03 April 2013

A Central Existential Fear

Occasionally, I will hear people speaking about finding one's purpose in life of something along the lines of doing what's meaningful in one's life.  For me, I discovered in rabbinical school, my life's passion (at least for a number of years now). However, the problem I realized then was that of time.
     My passion is generating written material, whether that is blog posts or, ideally, academic-style articles on rabbinic literature.  While I am also interested in Biblical literature and later Jewish writings, as well, it is rabbinic literature that has captured my fancy.
     However, I recognized in rabbinical school that my time was limited and that I needed to get to work researching and writing on these topics.  What I knew would be an impediment to pursuing this special, meaningful passion of mine would be not only once I got out, that I wouldn't be in the same atmosphere of rabbinical school and mindset to be dealing with such "academic"/intellectual concerns and, instead, be dealing with whichever job it was that I would have.  The other issue that I was concerned about was the softening of my intellect.  I knew that in one's 20s and even still into one's 30s, one's mind is at its sharpest and begins to soften.  I figured I needed to get out my sharp perceptions on rabbinic literature and other writing while I am still young and able to bring a sharp mind to approaching the texts with which I wanted to deal.  Moreover, I wanted to lay down foundations for potential further articles that could build off of what I had written previously.     Well, this got exacerbated once I got married.  Although I published three articles before I got married, I still haven't published any.  What I didn't know then was that having a kid would make it more difficult to have the time to do so.  Once I had my first child, whoa, that changed my time!  But then after my second, I realized all the potential free time I could have had.  However, having the second child helped me realize that my time is very limited.  One thing that it forced me to do was knowing that if I wanted to go to the gym, I had to make sure I did it and not wait around to see if I had the time to do so.  I have also, in the two years since I have had a second child, been working on researching and writing other pieces.  Although I am further ambitious to research and write even more articles, I am also realistic that I may not get as many done as I would like.
     Although I have tried to keep up my mentality of trying to work on my writing and keeping my mind sharp, I wonder if this has taken some enjoyment away from living my life and just enjoying it as opposed to having thoughts on my mind about research and writing interests or even worrying about spending time with my children taking time away from my researching and writing pursuits. While I will acknowledge that I have not yet reached a healthy and comfortable sense of my personal balance, I know that I am doing the right thing to be there with my children and that I just need to figure out the right times to work on these intellectual pursuits.

     So, while I know that my passion and a great sense of meaning is being achieved when I endeavor to help others better understand our Jewish tradition with its Biblical and Rabbinic foundations, I also know that I should enjoy my youth and good health and be very involved in the raising of my children.

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