Our Biggest Mistakes

Shana tova umetuka to each and every one of you. 

I wish all of you wonderful adventures this year, full of awesome surprises. 

I would like to share with you a dream that I had. 

I’m hoping that you’ll be able to take some of what I dreamt and incorporate it into your life.

(I feel the dream is relevant to Rosh Hashanah.  I’ll explain how later.) 

So, in my dream, there was this really gorgeous, beautiful woman, who was a makeup artist. 

She was an older lady but she looked much younger than her actual age. 

She had beautiful, thick hair, flawless skin, and beautiful red lips. 

She worked on a casual street in Brooklyn. 

What nobody knew about this makeup artist was that she was actually a very famous radio hostess. 

As a radio hostess, she was known to tell her listeners that one of the biggest mistakes that a person can make is to try to change the world, because nobody can really do that. 

She advised her listeners to work on themselves, to be good to themselves and love themselves; and good would automatically come about. 

In my dream, after listening to her show, I walked in the street and recognized her; only this time she wasn’t wearing her thick, dark wig or her beautiful makeup. 

Her wrinkles were showing, but she still looked much more beautiful in this natural state. 

This lady hostess would come home and cry because, while she was giving excellent advice to people about how to live their lives, she wished she could work on herself, instead. 

She had her own inner battle which is why she was living a double life as a radio hostess and a really young-looking makeup artist.

While I don’t agree 100% with that dream, I do think there is some truth to it. 

We are often quick to judge others and their wrongdoings.

It’s easy for us to tell a struggling friend how they should live their life instead of working on ourselves. 

How many of us actually follow our own advice? 

How many of us actually take care of ourselves? 

What does taking care of yourself mean to you?

Taking care of yourself may seem very selfish to a lot of people. 

But, I really do believe that the lady in my dream was right.

When you take care of yourself, you are automatically taking care of others because you…yes, you…are also a part of this circle. 

If you’re a little impatient with people, try to be patient with yourself. 

If you are hurting people, stop hurting yourself.

If you will just be good to yourself, I promise you will automatically be good to others without even trying.

To further along this idea of self-care and repentance this holiday season, I would like to also share a poem with you, “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver.

You do not have to be good.You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting – over and over announcing your place in the family of things.

My interpretation is that, when the author says, “You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting,” it’s not saying that you shouldn’t be a good person, but, maybe, she means that it shouldn’t have to involve having to “repent,” meaning be so hard on yourself. 

You can enjoy life, especially now during this time of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. 

We are looking at our wrongdoings towards others, but sometimes we judge ourselves too harshly, which doesn’t help.

Even if you have made a mistake, as Mary Oliver says, “Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again.” 

Which means, the world will still go on, regardless of our mistakes. 

If you’ve made a mistake, say sorry, move on, and try not to do it again. 

I think this is a reminder that you need to learn to give yourself a break. 

Learn to leave yourself alone, and be good to yourself the way you would like the world to be good to itself.

With that being said, have a happy, healthy, and super sweet (but not too sweet because that would be boring) New Year!

Love,

Anat Ghelber

About the Author
Anat Ghelber was born in Israel and moved to Texas when she was 13. There, she experienced anti-Semitism in public schools. She moved to New York City when she was 20. She is currently studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. She started submitting articles to the Jewish Voice 2 years ago, and in her free time enjoys writing poems.
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