I can’t be 23, no way… nope. Not happening.
Okay, it’s happened. It’s a thing now, and I’ve got to let that slowly sink in.
I’m not sure I’m actually able to comprehend the fact that I’ve turned another year older. Trust me when I say, it was a bit touch and go this past year (thanks, Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension) but I’m really happy to have gotten here.
22 came and went really quickly, like a literal blink of an eye. It seems like I was just celebrating my birthday, but here we are again. This year has been filled to the brim with introspection, family, friends, tons of coffee, doctors, hardship, and celebration. This year is one that I will look back on with less than fond feelings, but it will also be the year of the Phoenix (no not because I went there like 4 times in a 9 month span), but because I am rising (or trying to rise) from the ashes of life’s tough issues. It’s beautifully metaphorical, or something like that.
One thing I keep coming back to, is that this will mark 10 years since my Bat Mitzvah. 10 years since I became a teenager, 10 years since I became a Bas Torah (Daughter of the Torah), 10 years since I got the greatest dog in the world, and in 10 years a lot can happen.
Below is a picture of me with Grandma in New York for the very first time:
I became positively smitten with the city I would call home five years later. I had no idea how I would get there, but I just knew that I would.
And that’s how I landed here, at 18. Completely star struck by the Big Apple.
Had you told me at 13 that the way I’d get to New York would be by going to seminary, I would have been so confused. What’s a Chabad and why do I become one? You mean I’ll never get to eat at just any restaurant I want, and I’ll be okay with that? Only skirts and dresses?! And the conversation would slowly morph into– Wait, the lymphadema never goes away?? The health issues get worse?!? I make incredible friends who stick with me through the good and the bad (and by bad I mean 18 year old me’s eyebrow and fashion situation)?!
Yes, 13 year old me would have never believed it. I went from being the one on the bimah laining (reading) the Torah, to being okay with the notion of sitting in the women’s side of the shul and singing quietly. I have no regrets.
Yes, 13 year old me had cantorial dreams, and 18 year old me had Rebbetzin dreams, now 23 year old me just has dreams of my morning coffee.
People change, the world turns, and time keeps moving.
At the core of it, the 13 year old and 23 year old both had a deep love for G-d and Judaism. All I’d ever wanted for myself at 13 was to feel accepted and a sense of self, little did I know it would take going into the Chassidic world for that to happen, but it did. 10 years and completely different world later, I’ve achieved more than I ever dreamed possible and I am surround by the world that raised me and the world that welcomed me with open arms.
It’s crazy what a decade can do. From childhood to adulthood, from reading the Torah to learning it, and from smiles to bigger smiles.
I have no idea what 23 is going to hold. I have no ideas what I want 23 to hold, but what I do know is that I am ready for whatever it throws my way. Tehillim in one hand and coffee in the other!
Below are some photos throughout the past 10 years, and also check out Instagram stories to see some never before seen clips from my Bat Mitzvah. I promise, you don’t want to miss those.