New Year’s Sucks More Than Rosh Hashanah (This Is Not An Inspirational Post)

Rosh Hashanah

In theory, Rosh Hashanah should suck more than secular New Year’s. Rosh Hashanah is a liturgical marathon. Service length depends heavily on which synagogue you go to, the mood of the cantor and the rabbi, and how much of the service you actually attend, but going from 8 AM – 1 PM is plausible. Conveniently (not), the longest service of the year is also the one service of the year that isn’t followed by a kiddush (snacks/light lunch after Shabbat services). Well, aside from Yom Kippur, but that’s a fast day. Of course, the day that the service is already unbearably long and there’s no food afterwards is the day the rabbi picks to give the longest, most preachy sermon of the year.

“Oh boy, a captive audience of hungry congregants who aren’t getting food afterwards on the longest service of the year. This is the perfect time for my worst sermon”. I kid. I’ve heard Rosh Hashanah speeches that weren’t all bad, and I don’t think most Rabbis actively try to think of more ways to torture the congregation on Rosh Hashanah. Photo by Reimond de Zuñiga on Unsplash

Then the liturgy itself. Rosh Hashanah is a “happy” holiday, in the sense that we’re celebrating the Jewish new year and we (eventually) get to eat food. But the liturgy has this tone of “this is the day of judgement because G-d is about to seal your fate in the Book of Life soon, so start repenting now”. Hallel, the set of psalms of praise added for holiday services, is not said on Rosh Hashanah, because it’s thought that Hallel is too joyful for a somber day of judgment. Also, there are opinions that one is not supposed to have sex on Rosh Hashanah because it’s considered too serious of a day. That alone should make Rosh Hashanah a worse holiday than secular New Year’s.

Yet I generally experience Rosh Hashanah as a pretty fun holiday, even during the pandemic, because it’s pretty much all family obligations and shenanigans. I’m sure that if I spent the holiday actually doing the serious introspection, it would be dreadful. But there’s too much family stuff for me to focus on this at all.

New Year’s

The problem with New Year’s when you have COVID is that there is nothing to do but introspection and reading the toxic positivity of everyone else on the internet. Instead of one terrible long preachy sermon, it’s like suffering through an entire internet’s worth.

Instead of just one Rabbi failing to read the crowd, the entire internet thinks this is a great time for humblebrags about the year and toxic positivity. I changed the photo that was here originally to represent the fact that the social media version of this shit is more colorful and Insta-worthy. Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

My 2021

My 2021 was not great. I’m not the first person to say this. The difference is that the suckiness is 98% my own fault and only about 2% the fault of the pandemic.

I made bad career and life decisions. My work ethic completely disintegrated. I ruined my professional reputation. I behaved badly in my marriage. I’m not sorry I quit keeping Shabbat and I don’t particularly want to go back to it anytime soon, but quitting Shabbat did not improve happiness or quality of life in any way. I reached new lows of unhealthy habits. I reached new lows of depression; I fell further down the rabbit hole of depression and I don’t know how to get myself out. Blogging and therapy have proven to be unhelpful strategies towards this endpoint. I think my greatest accomplishment of 2021 (and what will probably be my greatest accomplishment of the coronavirus pandemic) was/is not developing a drinking habit. And that’s only because my body decided to quit tolerating alcohol, not because I actually developed coping or problem-solving skills. This would have been a much better New Year’s if proper drinking had been more of an option.

What kills me is that I was literally in this exact position at this very same time last year. In therapy, talking about how unhappy I was with job, marriage, living situation, etc. And one year later, it’s the same. Like I wasted an entire fucking year. Our wedding anniversary is coming up and it feels very similar. I’m not going to say how long we have been married because it is embarrassing to be married this long and have accomplished so little. It’s like celebrating a year of unemployment or something. Not something a person should be proud of.

2022

I’m supposed to write something hopeful, but to be honest, I feel extremely meh about 2022. I hate resolutions. I suck at goals. I don’t believe for a minute that 2022 will bring any improvements on a macro level, nor that I’ll manage to improve things on a micro level in my own life.

***

I’m sorry, blog-friends. I wish I had a better post, but I just feel drained.

80 comments

  1. When life gets you down, one number flicking over is hardly likely to be the great booster. What is the definition of toxic positivity? I have to look it up. Is it like a weed which is just a plant growing in the wrong spot?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Contrary to what parts of the internet might say, it’s OK to have a bad year and it’s OK not to be OK.

    Have you tried antidepressants? It took a very long time to find one that worked for me, but it was a big help when I did (admittedly only in changing unbearable depression to somewhat bearable depression, but still a positive change).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Spent a moment immersed in this and spending another right now to tell you that somebody who writes as well as you do will transform this sucky period into something interesting. Give yourself time. Unlike last comment, I’d offer the thought that you might find your way out without medicating. You seem to have powerful and deep resources there for you and within you. Honestly. I feel that from your stories and your use of words.

    Like

    • I really appreciate your kind words about my writing. And in spite of my strong pessimistic tendencies, I honestly do appreciate your sense of optimism.

      I’d like to be able to pull myself out of this, but I’ve been in it long enough, and have sufficiently good pattern-recognition skills to realize that whatever the hell I am doing (or not doing) is not working, and it’s time for better help. It might be antidepressants, or it might not be antidepressants. Truthfully, I’m not in love with the idea, although I recognize that it has merit. It could also be a different/better therapist match. I’m trying to be open-minded

      Like

  4. I like the term “meh”. Many of us have lowered expectations for this new year. It’s an attitude we can own, and, ironically, we can also use it as food for growth. Being realistic about one’s life is actually rather healthy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think New Year is seriously overrated. It’s a matter of going ahead by one day. Is that really something to celebrate or cheer about? If someone is going to continue to make the same mistakes and have the same shitty life that they’ve been having, then a new year is just another year closer to one’s death. How spectacular! Keep going and live life as you deem right. Take care. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Three things you should be positive about, JYP. 1) You have a terrific sense of humor. 2) You are very clever with words so my guess is that you are very bright. 3) You are not using your navel as a porthole (so no cranial-rectal inversion). Don’t make 2022 a Groundhog Year of 2021. Wishing you all of the best and don’t fall for social media lies where other people distill the truth in their life to the most flattering minutes or seconds. Even supermodels may wake up with bedhead or bumps on their skin.

    Like

    • I’m not sure I’ve had enough coffee yet to follow #3, but it definitely sounds like it requires more flexibility than I have, so I think I might be good on this front. Thank you, I appreciate your kind words about my writing style and lack of cranial-rectal flexibility 😉as well as your wishes for the new year

      Supermodels and influencers totally wake up with bedhead. Those “no makeup morning selfies” are very very engineered and filtered.

      Best wishes for 2022 to you as well.

      Like

  7. I think you will be okay. We call it a new year because we need to keep track of time— but it’s just a continuum. You will be okay. I know it because you will continue coming to terms with yourself.
    I’m encouraged for you.
    Keep doing what you did here and you will be okay. May all the pieces fall into place for you.
    I bless you. Speedy recovery on the horizon and prosperity. 👏 💕

    Liked by 2 people

  8. After reading your post, and the comments, I want to say, “It’s OK,” but while it may be, once in awhile, it is just what it is. I’ve come to suspect this practice of celebrating round numbers and cycles of all sorts kind of gets in the way of moving forward. It takes a certain amount of concentration to hold the idea that THIS January is not like ALL THE OTHER Januaries, for example. We probably should not name the months with non-repeating names, like hurricanes, or just use Chrome’s password suggestions.
    All I can offer is you’re not alone, and the truth is that good things rain down on us all the time, and there is always something around the corner. You just have to learn not to mind the in-between.

    Like

    • “I’ve come to suspect this practice of celebrating round numbers and cycles of all sorts kind of gets in the way of moving forward.” – Interesting. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were right on this. It seems consistent with the idea that diets don’t work because they rely on all this cyclic changes.

      “We probably should not name the months with non-repeating names, like hurricanes, or just use Chrome’s password suggestions.” – HAHA! I love this.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You are awfully hard on yourself, and your post is fitting for your current situation. Life these last couple of years have really been like “Ground Hog Day” without a happy ending. Having covid cooties at New Years is like someone leaving a flaming sack of Siberian sheep shit on your doorstep and you stomping on it when you answer the doorbell. My new year’s post is titled “Another Year Passes Away” my wife said that was a downer post. I said it certainly is, it was another sucky, downer year. I never make new year’s resolutions. What’s the point? That way anything I do or don’t do during the new year is perfectly resolute. I’m with you on the macro-level of not much hope for improvement in 2022. Although, I would like to think we can make a tiny bit of progress on the micro level.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Thank you for not inflicting toxic positivity on all and sundry. Enough with all the damn gratitude.
    That said – you do need to get over this Covid thingy and go and kick cans down the road.
    Cheers to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I think one of the earliest times we talked was on a post about 5 things you’re good at. You asked everyone what they were good at and I made a comment you said was a total cop-out and forced me to mention something I’m good at. Am I allowed to ask you to do the same thing now?

    Okay, so you don’t have to be hopeful, but I’m totally not letting you forget about the stuff you’re good at. Then again, maybe it’d be too boring to repeat the same thing over again. Maybe we can spice it up and you can tell me five things you hate about me instead.

    On another smaller note, I’m glad to know you’ve got a community here that care about you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are 100% allowed to turn the tables and make me follow my own rules on my blog. I’m not rehashing my previous post, but I’ll say that I’ve gotten positive feedback on my writing and that I managed to build a small community of nice people on the internet over the course of this year (which, if you’ve seen the internet lately, this totally counts as an accomplishment). You’ve given me the warm fuzzies 🥰

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Some people say blogging helps purge. Others say blogging is just regurgitating.
    You are a talented writer and your honest words have touched others and built community. No one can give you the answers and this much I know: there’s no quick fix. But you do have ears here that are listening and hearts that are praying!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. It’s a tough time and it’s important to be honest about it. Thank you for that. It’s refreshing to see this post in the sea of toxic positivity, especially around this time of year.

    Let’s disregard the fact that New Year’s is anyways a completely arbitrary day of the year to turn over a new leaf (…although I am guilty of subscribing to this, but only because I’m compulsive with making life overhauls I never follow through). With everything happening in the world and the pandemic being so unpredictable, positivity can feel like setting yourself up for disappointment. Trying to not think that way myself, but it’s hard not to.

    All to do for now is keep moving forward and finding the strategies that help cope with the sucky bits. One day at a time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • “With everything happening in the world and the pandemic being so unpredictable, positivity can feel like setting yourself up for disappointment. Trying to not think that way myself, but it’s hard not to.” – yes, this is a very good description. At the same time, not setting goals out of lack of positivity to set them (my current strategy) is also not a recipe for success. It would be good if there was a happy medium.

      Thank you – the toxic positive internet is exhausting this time of year. I should get off it and do something else. I’ll blame having COVID for failure to do that, but it’s not like this is healthy.

      Like

  14. I love your honesty …
    That is sign of strength!

    I went through things that I thought were gonna take me out… not that it matters … but I am not Jewish – but one of my best friends is… and I work in funerals – I am familiar with Jewish burials little bit. I have a funeral home that handles all Jewish and Muslim families – fast fast funerals 😮 that is all I really know of Jewish is the funerals

    I am Catholic – we do a lot of stuff too lol

    But anyway – as I was saying … at one point I thought life was gonna take me out.

    My ex had been having an affair and the whole marriage had been emotionally and physically abusive – I am Catholic so my beliefs were that you stay unless there is adultery – which there was and that was my out ❤️ I had to seriously change how I thought and what I was raised to believe, so I could move forward – it was hard

    And then my dad died… a month later my grandfather … and then my grandmother …

    So while I was dealing with all that – my ex was coming at me and harassing me fiercely – to bury me basically

    Then my mom – who was my best friend and my everything – was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s- her and my father had hid it from family and friends … it wasn’t until he died that we saw it, and was not safe for her to be alone – I still have her but I want her back – I miss her – my heart aches for her all the time!! I just went to visit her and little by little she is disappearing 💔 she remembers me … knows I am her daughter but doesn’t know my name – only sometimes …

    And then I’m dealing with my own families funerals and taking care of her and I got diagnosed with breast cancer …

    Like god was coming after me 😮 and my ex didn’t let up until courts stepped in…

    All that occurred in one year… 2017 was the worst year of my entire life!!

    Anyway… there are blessings from bad things … if my dad didn’t die – we would never know my mom needed help…

    And I discovered the cancer early so I am lucky and I survived (knock on wood)

    I was only a stay at home mom with a high school diploma

    But I put myself in positions where I knew people – I got a job at a school with kids who brought me back to life – but then I lost that with Covid

    And I found funerals … is not creepy- I have empathy so I do well, and I love helping someone cross over

    Don’t worry – is just a moment … you will get through it

    Everyone makes wrong turns

    It is hard when everyone seems so happy and you are not.

    I stepped away from social media completely because of that – I still have not been back

    You will be ok… is not easy – very hard work … but worth it

    Know what you want or how you want it to be and aim for that.

    Takes time

    My marriage was almost 22 years… I call him Satan because while I was battling cancer he was horrific until courts stepped in to protect me from him

    So … it’s ok … sometimes I think bad hurtful things happen because we learn lessons … and you know what direction you want better

    I always think – took me this long to get to that point and I’ve been working very hard ever since

    I am still losing my mom which makes me cry 💔 I want her…

    She’s like in a purgatory… stuck between being with my father who she loved with all her heart since they were 15 – and then leaving us… there are 3 of us. So she is stuck in middle …

    It’s been a bit of mercy with the Alzheimer’s because I lost my dad fast – with her, I get to try to come to terms with it before I lose her… but ya know – is my mom so that’s hard – I cry because I want her so much!! I am not ready to lose her – and is hard to let go

    Anyway my point is … there are heavy things in my life too…

    But I think that’s a human thing… we all have that at one point.

    But life continues and YOU decide “how”

    There were moments where I didn’t think I could continue – I lost both parents boom boom … so it was really hard

    But my life does go on … and now I am free from a bad marriage, I have to be confident in my choices and I have to know what I want

    Because I don’t have them now… I have to make my life what I want it to be. It just takes time. I know the pain and also the heaviness of things

    I do still have pain – but I prefer to move forward. Not dwell because I want an amazing life and I am building that

    You have to know – there are angels in life for you… and then also you can depend on yourself … you will never hurt you (hopefully)

    Anyway just wanted to share – my life is different now, and I am happy … and I am alive

    Also it’s ok to have a pity party for awhile – just don’t let it consume you – take your time and absorb your feelings – emotions are ok – even depression

    I always say I am a Phoenix – I rise from the ashes ❤️❤️❤️

    Just takes time – it will get better. Life is always gonna hit you with something – you just have to grow your strength. It’s ok.

    Life is on your time – so heal as you can and then you be ok.

    You can always pop over to my blog if you need anything.

    Sometimes I think I have the answers – but then life teaches me lessons too lol

    I do not like life’s lessons lol

    I wish you well ❤️ take care & stay safe

    Like

    • Thank you for sharing your story and for providing a much-needed dose of perspective. I have been ridiculously fortunate. The downside to this is that I have developed absolutely no coping skills for facing any form of adversity, however mild. And to be clear, as adversity goes, this is really, really mild. I’m also not kidding when I say that everything that went wrong this year was 98% my own stupid fault. My circumstances were a dream,
      (I was an idiot, but my circumstances were as good as one could possibly ask for.)

      Hence I write posts like this, although I try not to do this too often. Throwing yourself a pity party feels good for a bit, but it doesn’t really make you feel better in the long run.

      I am sorry for your losses, for your mom, for your own health struggles. That is so difficult. Wishing you healing and all the best for 2022.❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well I WAS same as you in terms of handling adversity. I was not at all ready for everything that happened

        I didn’t have a choice due to what happened – so if I wanted to survive, I had to cope. I had no one to catch me or help – although people who have a heart helped me along the way. But was definitely awful to go through. I am on other side now – but that really sucked …lol really really bad!!

        Looking back – was good lessons for me. Now I like to think I am bad ass lol 😄✌️only cause I made it through and I’m still strong 💪❤️

        I always think of that saying “you never know how strong you are, until you have to be”

        I’m very glad to hear yours is not as severe as mine was…

        Also … do not be too hard on self – we are all human. No one is perfect.

        Thank you for your kindness and your heart ❤️

        I also wish you the best for 2022! ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Agreed – where’s the book on hitting that elusive happy medium?

    To be fair, it’s hard to avoid, even with full energy – especially on Instagram. I request at least 30% more cynicism and snark on social media for 2022, to make it more palatable. So you should definitely be blaming the internet itself for it making it so unavoidable in the first place!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Was that Aristotle on his Doctrine of the Mean? I’m sure all the influencers on Instagram have read it 😉 (Sorry, I hate Instagram and influencers.) I wish you that 30% more cynicism and snark for your social media. That’s just like caffeine in the mornings – how is one expected to get through without it?!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. For what it’s worth, I always feel as though I’ve wasted an entire year, no matter what I’ve done. Maybe we’re just the type who are harder on ourselves. And I feel you about about making bad decisions. Heck, I just quit a job once more to pursue fiction. How much dumber can that get?

    Anyway, just wanted to share your vibes and to let you know that you’re not alone. Also, you’ve built a great community here, most of whom are rooting for you, so there’s that. Wishing you all the best for 2022 regardless!

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is worth a lot, actually. Thank you for sharing! With all the yearly humblebrags that go on this time of year, it’s refreshing to hear some “actually, I wasted time and didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to”. Thank you for the bad decision solidarity. I’m about to write a resignation email to a side job that is about to fire me – wish me luck!
      To a good 2022 for us both🍾🥂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Toxic positivity is part of the culture where I work. I try to avoid reading the work newsletters because they just infuriate me. But I’m hoping that will improve in 2022 as a bipolar colleague threatened to sue the university over it just before new year on the grounds that it was discriminatory – bless him!
    Good luck for a better 2022, I find you something to bring you hope too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ugh that sounds awful. My workplace also has some elements of this. Actually, what bugs me more about my workplace is less toxic positivity and more the “bring your authentic self to work” – my workplace is fine, but I don’t like or trust my coworkers enough to do this. The toxic positivity is pretty awful though. Good luck to you too for a better 2022.

      Liked by 1 person

        • It is pretty bad. Also, it’s totally untrue. I don’t think for a minute that “bring your authentic self to work” means discussing my flawed marriage, bad living situation, how very badly I want children and how very angry I am that I don’t have them, or my political opinions that may be unpopular, to work. That means I get to spend the workday with everyone else’s Instagram-worthy “authentic self” instead of doing actual work with politely friendly strangers.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yeah, that sounds pretty bad. We don’t really do feelings where I work – it’s very male-dominated (engineering). Although we now have a deputy head (people) whose job it is to pretend to care about people and write lengthy platitude-filled newsletter items. He’s dangerous – he’s nice until you show weakness, then he tells you that your paranoid, negative, etc.
            I really hope things work out for you. The kids thing is really tough – my husband spent years not being ready until ultimatums were issued. Then it turned out I had/have endometriosis and it was a huge saga including surgery, miscarriages and IVF to have kids. I haven’t forgiven him – it still pisses me off how much he stuffed me around. And his bloody parents constantly dropping hints about grandchildren did not help either.

            Liked by 1 person

  18. Hey JYP, I felt sad to read this post because although you allude to such feelings regularly it still took me by surprise that you feel this poorly and have consistently for quite some time. The surprise came because you write so entertainingly and your emphasis (irreverent) on your faith reflects you taking some strength from it (something I know nothing about so excuse me for assuming). Once again, the best I can offer is what has always worked for me – having regular green space and nature experiences as a part of your life. If not in the bush go parkside. If you can include exercise even better, but if not hiking then walking and if not cycling then eBiking – if you get my drift. I realise I have mentioned this before, but to maybe make it actionable I am presumptuous enough to suggest you apply your evident travel organising skills to make it happen. Natural world experiences are good for you body and soul.The only thing you have to do to get the benefit is pay a bit of attention to what is going on around you at the time. They can happen close to home or far away. Whatever you do, at minimum get outdoors and observe your surroundings for a bit. Even in this mess of a world there are still things to appreciate that will help put your life back in perspective. Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind words. I do think there is truth that getting out in nature is good for the soul and spirit. I wrote this while in a mandatory quarantine period for contracting COVID, and I can confirm that spending many consecutive days inside one’s apartment is not good for the soul or spirit. I am recovered physically and have been feeling better mentally as well since leaving the apartment to go to work and even go away for a weekend.

      Like

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