By Maiyan Karidi
So, this year feels different to me. It’s just not normal. This Covid anxiety is taking its toll.
Some of us have experienced the worst of it and have lost someone we love.
Somewhere in the back of our minds we are convinced it will disappear soon. It surely must. This is just unacceptable. Living our lives like this is unacceptable. It’s science fiction. It cannot be.
At the same time, all the signs were there. We knew we were taking things too far and exploiting too much as a human species. Something had to snap. A slap in the face. A punch in the gut. A pandemic.
Let’s put the actual disease aside for a moment and think about all the other things this crisis has affected. We have lost our freedom, our livelihood, our social lives with friends and family, our movement, activities, travel, routine, our opportunities, our schools and universities, our security, our future.
Rosh Hashana for me, always comes with a feeling of celebration and hope for the future. It’s apples and honey and a sweet new year. So, what do we do now? We know this heavy cloud of fear and dread is not going away any time soon. We cannot control the disease, but we can control our response to it.
So, here is my way of defying the darkness that just seems to suck us into a pit of despair. It’s called the 24 hour rule.
For every disappointment, for every email beginning with ‘Unfortunately’, for every false promise, every ‘sure thing’ that amounts to nothing, for every obstacle in our way, every catch 22 situation where we feel there is no way out, every closed door, every unfair criticism and judgement for being in the situation we find ourselves, for every person who offends us deeply, every ‘friend’ who lets us down, for all the exhaustion of doing our best without results, all the lack of compassion, all the rude voices, for all the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness and anything else you would like to add, use the 24 hour rule:
We have 24 hours to be sad, to be angry, to curl up in our beds and cry, to give up, to surrender, to scream, to break something, to be miserable, to fall into that gloom lagoon.
But after 24 hours, we’re done. We get up, it’s recovery time. We shake off the mud, get cleaned up, dress our best, forgive ourselves and walk out ready to conquer the world. Stare at the ocean, walk in the forest, watch the sunrise, check on our friends and family, offer help to someone else struggling, appreciate everything we have, we are grateful and think about what is rather than what isn’t. We look at the light. There is always some light.
So, maybe we should use this method to approach Rosh Hashana.
We clean up, prepare the meal, look our best, take out the apples and honey and make that table beautiful. We sit together, we say the blessing, we share a meal with people we love and we move forward without fear, towards the light.
Maiyan is an artist and writer who has lived in and worked on creative projects in Cape Town, Israel, Fiji and Mauritius. She recently returned to Cape Town and continues her quest for artistic collaborations. Anyone interested in creating art projects with Maiyan can contact her at email@example.com.
• Published in the PDF edition of the September 2021 issue – Get the PDF here.
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