Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Day After S'lichot ... Renewing Ourselves Through New Connections ...

Last night was beautiful.  So many people came to our early dinner at Cafe Centro, located in our own neighborhood of Northwood.  It was wonderful to watch long-time members catching up with old friends but, more importantly, it was nice to see so many new members getting to know new friends.  : )

Becoming part of a spiritual community is difficult, particularly in today's busy times.  Often, when asked why people join a synagogue, they will say it is to make new friends, but integration can be challenging.  People unintentionally form cliques because we are comfortable with people we already know -- and because we share a history with them.  When we are already so busy trying to keep up with the friends we have, it is difficult to justify lunch, or even coffee, with someone we just met, especially when every hour is precious.

But what might we missing out on?  An hour to welcome someone to the community might be the hour they needed to feel connected, and it might be the gift of a new friend we give to ourelves.  So, as we have many people joining our community recently, this might be the time to reach out and set up a time to meet away from the synagogue, outside of our comfort zones.  In this season of renewal, perhaps it might be a time to connect to someone new.  : )

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Setting Realistic Expectations Helps Create Happiness ...

I'm met lots of young people who are unhappy with their place in life ... which has caused me to reflect back on my life.  A long time ago, a very smart young woman (Susanne Sliwa) taught me a phrase I repeat often: "Low expectations are the key to a happy life." This article defines "happiness" as "reality minus expectations." I think both are brilliant, and true: 

Click here to read: "Why Generation Y is Unhappy"

I (and my classmates) graduated from law school in 1992 (I fall in Gen X) with $85K in school loans when law firms were laying off 3rd and 4th year attorneys because of a lousy legal economy. (Lots of my classmates had more loans than I did, since I had an undergrad scholarship covering all of my tuition.) 

At the time, because I would have a significant amount of debt when I finished, I was criticized for choosing private schools over cheaper public education, but it was the right choice at the time for me ... knowing that, however, I do believe it was a fair criticism both then and now with respect to a graduate's debt load since there were cheaper options available that I could have helped me "launch" with much less debt. 

(As an aside, today's grads have many more options for lengthening repayment and wonderful loan forgiveness programs for public service -- I do believe these programs should be expanded and better publicized, and would like to see current student loan interest rates lowered to current market rates). 

To the point of the article, though, it seems that most of my parents' generation, and to some extent my generation, understood that a tiny apartment with hand-me-down furnishings, a used car (or a bus pass), and Mac and Cheese were just part of starting out. Today, I'm not sure those expectations exist. Then again, I might just be an "old fart" already and not even realize it ... and I must remember that conversations of one generation judging the next (one or two) are as old as time ... Lol. : )

PS ... I do not think this is exclusive to Gen Y ... unrealistic expectations affect every age group. Also, check out the commentary to the article.  (Also, it's interesting to read how valued technology knowledge is by some of the younger commenters ... I think it naively discounts so many more skills that come with age and experience.)  What do you think? : )