As my look at the past decade continues, I delve into the years of 2002 and 2003. The former was the start of many things for me, as we’ll soon see, but the latter was one of the last genuine pauses I’ve experienced in my life to date.
2002: An end and a beginning
I celebrated my Bar Mitzvah in May. It was at once my highest moment and also my lowest. I’d been studying my entire life for those few short hours, and as I stood there in front of the congregation, I felt the presence of God like I had never felt him before. And it felt good.
But. There’s always a but. Just as everything has a head, so everything has a tale: Mine was that with my entire life now behind me, there was nothing left to gain from Judaism. I began to drift away.
At the same time, I started writing seriously. Introduced to the computer, and its word processing capabilities in particular, all my stories that I’d held in my head began to come out on digital paper. It changed my life for the better. With a way to write that was both legible and able to keep up with the speed of my mind, I began to fall in love with writing as I never had before.
This is the day I first called myself a writer.
2003: An excursion; an intermission
This year was an unexciting time for me. I studied religion with new passion, no longer bound to Judaism, but searching for what my heart could call home. I stumbled upon Paganism, and Wicca in particular. It became the whole of my religious life, and although I still wore the mask of Jew, inside I no longer felt like a Jew, but in truth a Wiccan. I was at once an open lie and a closed truth. This would be a suit I’d wear for a long time. If only then I had known what I know now.
Some may wonder what I mean by that. Oftentimes, it’s a statement said in regret: If I had known then what I know now, I never would have done this, I never would have done that. I speak it only mildly differently. I’ve reached a point in my life where I have no regrets. I understand that to regret something is to be displeased with who I am; to want to change the past that has molded me is an affront to my present self, an admission that I do not like who I am, that I would much rather be changed or be someone else entirely.
I do not want to change any longer. I’ve grown comfortable with who I am, and I’m blessed that I’ve been able to reach this point in my life that I feel is reached by those too far and few between. One rarely sees the full impact and influence, the entire significance, of those events that, once done, we immediately regret. It is in this sense that I say if only I’d known then what I know now. The pain and suffering that was still to come has shaped who I’ve become, but if then I had even the slightest foresight of what was waiting just around the turn of the year, I might have better prepared myself. I might have been able to sidestep some of the agony that fate still had in store for me.