Jacob Kohn
Adventurous & Anxious Gingi

A New Year, A New Me: Tales from a Struggling 20 Something

CAUTION: This is long and filled with many entertaining exaggerated similes. I am not a clinical psychologists, but it may be worth your time if you’re a “20 something”, or any stage in life, and you are feeling all the feels…

For anyone who is not aware, it’s my birthday. No need for applause or wishing me a happy birthday, because chances are that I’m not likely to check my social media everyday to see who’s birthday it is either, it’s just not realistic. But besides it being my birthday, I’m going to take this opportunity to lay down some serious truth bombs that I think everyone who is going through the motions of a “20 something” year old is dealing with, and to let you know you’re not alone and it’s alright to be going through one of the most transitional, transformative, and unstable times of being an anxious man/lady child. So let me lay it out for you…

1) Not meeting “your” expectations to jump starting your career. I thought I had an idea of what I wanted to do after I graduated, only to be rocked and rolled by uncertain circumstances of “the right job” not being available or not having enough experience for the role (even though most roles I applied for were “entry level”). But that’s alright, because even though I was working in my family’s business as a checkout clerk/bakery man/deli man/food taxi driver/handy man/”whatever had to be done” position, I took it with strides and gained valuable insights of dealing with people and assisting with their needs and interacting with people who truly valued my assistance and ability to do whatever they wanted. Yeah, it sucks to go to college to earn a degree in Economics and pay a hefty some of $$ to make the ranks of a checkout clerk, but I learned a lot about humility and keeping my head on my shoulders. It was an emotional experience, working all the time, not having an outstanding social life; it seemed very mundane. But life is not easy, and I’m an adult, I guess, so it’s time that I stand up and do what is best for me, while being a respectful employee and maintaining outstanding communication to my boss, especially when you live under his roof (my dad). I’m grateful for the time I spent working my family’s business, I know that it has provided more than I can give thanks to, but maybe what’s best for me is to make a risk, while I’m still at the pivotable position in my life.

2) Segwaying into my second topic, being ballsy and taking some risks. There is an economic concept of opportunity cost. If there is one thing that stuck to me through my 4 years of education to receive a piece of paper saying I’m an educated individual ready to contribute to society, it is this:

It is the idea of having two options, both are not attainable to do at the same time, so you have to choose which one you want to do now and which one you will set aside to do later.

I decided to forego starting a career, earning $$, opening up a 401K, laying some roots in a community, and doing what is expected of graduates in America. But sometimes we are not all the same, and some need a second to be able to internalize what it is that we’re passionate about and what drives us to be a functioning member of society that will allow us to be the best that we can be. For me, I decided I wanted to go back to my roots and see where my grandparents came from, so I did a trip to Eastern Europe to see the places that I heard so much about, and in a sense it gave me closure to visit a place that I feel a had a connection to, and allowed me to move on. Then I decided that I had to go to Israel immediately after Holocaust Memorial Day because my Zionist ambitions were at an all time high, so I spent a couple of months cleaning dishes and picking bananas at a Kibbutz on the Sea of Galilee and soon became named “Jesus” because of my incredibly Jewish golden locks (rocking the semitic swag). It was an incredible experience, and a much needed experience, I was exposed to a lot of different people, had amazing connections, and I think that in this instance, I valued gaining an experience more than the other option of beginning my career immediately and racking in the cash. Now that I did these things, I feel that I can move on and have a clearer sense of what I’d like to be doing, for now at least.

3) Relationships. If there’s anything that I think I value more than anything in the world is the bond that is created between family, friends, loved ones, strangers, and dogs. I was only gone 4 months while on the kibbutz, but I realized things were going to be different, because I am no longer a child, and my home, that is the place that I grew up in and where I was raised, doesn’t feel like home anymore, and that’s ok because it’s time to move on and start my own adventures and find my own home. I was homesick, a phenomenon that I have not experienced since in the 2nd grade when I slept over at my friend Max‘s (sorry to embarrass you man, but this is funny now) house and had to get picked up at midnight because I was so homesick, I was tripping balls and thinking I was seeing things. Yeah. Glad things have gotten better since then.

But the homesickness I experienced was a sense of nostalgia that I think anyone can relate to; the need for someone to spoon feed you chicken noodles soup when you’re inept because you are dying of the flu. But when you’re all on your own in this dog-eat-dog world, you have to find new people to spoon feed you soup, and sometimes you even have to feed yourself, making you only sadder and emotional than you would be because you have a fever of 101 Fahrenheit and you’re tripping balls. What I’m trying to say is value the times and moments that you have with loved ones, because you never know when it will the last time. I’m not meaning to scare anyone or make anyone upset, I’m just invoking a consciousness of being around people that matter to you, and it’s not gay to admit that, because everyones a little gay these days. But besides that, I am being more aware of the time I spend with people I care about and consciously valuing the moments.
On the other hand, when you are surrounded by people that you don’t hit it off with, patience is key. I try to tell myself “I really don’t know this person therefore I can’t judge them”, and being annoyed and being furious with individual “A” (A is representing an random individual in an event) is not healthy for me to get completely meshuggenah. Take a step back, breathe, carry on, and if you can remove yourself from that situation do so. No need to get to high on your horse and think “I will be the better person”, because chances are you might fall of the horse your highness. Just chill out, these are things I’m still working on because I’m not perfect, and you do you.

*Concluding note: Listen, social media is great and all, but not a representation of people’s lives, it’s only instances of moments, and it can make it seem like some people are living the life, traveling, being cool or whatever at a club on a table, but in reality I believe that we all have the ability to be susceptible to loneliness, comparing ourselves to false representations of our peers, and other crazy emotional shit. What matters is what YOU’RE doing and how awesome you are, because the chances are you’re pretty awesome 😉

These are just somethings that I have come to learn over the past year that I’d like to share with you on this holy day of me turning a 1/4 of a century. Do what you love, discover new passions, teach yourself new things, read, speak to people who you never thought you’d have something in common with, and take it slow.

In the past year I’ve spat into a tube to learn about my genetics and learn about my heritage (thank you 23andMe), make a personal heritage trip by myself in Europe for 2 weeks after spending a week with an amazing organization bring Jewish Americans to Germany to learn about the complicated status of our history (thank you Germany Up Close), and working in my family’s business and getting myself out of my comfort zone, volunteering on a kibbutz like in the olden’ days, jumped out of a plane, and probably some other things. I’m very fortunate for these experiences, and I’m by no means a baller, I just decided which experiences I wanted to experience over some others.

I look forward to this New Year, with new beginnings, a clean slate, a healthy outlook on life, and the many more memories and experiences still waiting to be experienced. L’Shana Tovah U’metukah, a happy and healthy sweet new year to all, and I hope that you learned something new.

Credit for this amazing find


As for me, I’ll give you a hint of where I’ll be. It’s in the east, somewhere that’s always covered in the news, and has a very special place in my heart, and soon it will be a new place I call home 🇮🇱

About the Author
Gayleh (Gay Oleh), once hailing from the middle west and ventured to the Middle East. Avid adventurer, investigator, and passion discoverer. I like to tell stories and embrace the power of story telling to leverage different narratives.
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