Just as we do around the High Holidays, I think New Year’s and the subsequent weeks after provide a good time for introspection and goal setting. In fact, I think society might be a whole lot healthier if people took quarterly inventories of their lives.
My recent conclusions come both from discussions with friends and also from having seen “Up in the Air.”
I started 2010 with your typical resolutions—eating healthier, being more active and spending more time with family and friends.
To date, two-thirds of these resolutions have not come into fruition, although I remain innocently optimistic.
It was difficult to start a healthy eating regime when my refrigerator was, and is still, jam-packed with goodies I baked over the holidays, including peppermint bark, cakes and the like.
Also, not to sound like a 90-year old woman, but hauling my car out of a snow-filled parking spot in sub-zero temperatures is exercise enough for me on some days.
However, something I’ve taken to heart is the idea of spending more time with family and friends—which can be difficult with a crazy work schedule.
The holidays offered some time off that reminded me of what I was missing. I reconnected with out of town friends and had a daylong baking extravaganza with my mother on Christmas—what else are Jews supposed to do on Christmas?
The minute I welcomed these things more fully back into my life after having come off a work rush before the holidays, I realized what I had been missing. Immediately, I felt more balanced and as a result, I’m more cheerful now as I go through my daily grind.
I also spent last Sunday talking with a friend about how we needed to jumpstart our lives instead of moping about them—yes, we were talking about boys. However, the conversation evolved into talk of enriching ourselves with activities around the city.
However, somewhere in the back of mind, I’ve been realizing that I may have George Clooney to thank for some positive steps forward in 2010.
While Clooney’s not Jewish (to my knowledge), I think if he knocked on my door, I’d let that one slide. He certainly was more stunning than ever in “Up in the Air,” as was his acting.
I don’t want to provide too many spoilers in case there are readers out there who still want to go see it. But, the movie, while funny at times, was also quite tragic.
Clooney’s character, Ryan Bingham, who essentially traveled around the country and fired people for a living, thought he had life figured out, right down to each robotic moment—whether he was passing through airports or checking into hotels. However, he realized one big thing was missing from his life: human connection.
I think this movie was a cautionary tale for modern society. If we allow our jobs, our television sets, our computers, our cell phones, our iPods or our Facebook pages to consume our lives, we’ll forget about the real-life people around us.
My friends and I, for instance, are guilty of texting at the dinner table.
I also worry that our consumerist-driven society is only magnified during a time when people are panicked about unemployment and mere survival. Bingham’s task of firing people was downright heartbreaking for the viewer, though Clooney offered a cool performance. At the same time, his character faced the inevitability that his own in-person work was going to be transplanted by computerized interactions.
Are we better as a society for making things more efficient and less personal?
That’s something I’m grappling with in 2010.