My Ridiculous Thoughts
This morning, on my way to Yaakov’s gan, I saw an older woman. 70-ish, with wrinkles and a cane. And I thought, “I am turning 45 next month. Before I know it, I will be all wrinkled and hobbling like her”
Then I saw an obese woman who was wearing the exact same boots as me. And I thought, “You see, Chana Jenny, you are also fat. All fat people wear boots like that!”
Then I saw Yaakov’s ganenet, who has been teaching for 30 years. And I thought, “Look at her, she has been a ganenet for 30 years. And what have YOU been doing for the past 30 years, Chana Jenny?!”
Yes, I am embarrassed to share the ridiculous, self-critical things I think, like, all the time.
And I’m sharing them today because this week, bestselling author Noa Yaron-Dayan completely channeled my own ridiculous, self-critical thoughts in her Pnima column (which I found so perfect, I read it three times). She wrote:
“If only I were more disciplined…
“If only I were more determined regarding toothbrushing, afternoon naps, sweets only once every two weeks, organizing the upper cabinets more than once every two years. If only…
“If only I counted calories. If only I had a reminder on my phone that it’s time to go to the dental hygienist. If only I was taking a parenting class. If only I was that one who buys the presents for all the teachers…
“If only, but what can I do if I’m only me. And as the years pass, it seems that this is a chronic problem…
“How cruel we are to ourselves. And everyone thinks she’s the only one. That besides her everyone is dragging her own life along with calm and nobility. But this is the sickness of a generation whose evil inclination, Rebbe Nachman says, is not called “Yetser Hara” but rather “the power of imagination.
“And in a world where the imagination works for the Satan, it is hard to love ourselves. We aren’t as photogenic as we should be. We aren’t perfect enough. And if I’m not perfect enough, not thin enough, not pretty enough, not young enough, not rich enough, then how can I love myself?
“And my self-hatred has reached up to here, and I just can’t handle it anymore. I cannot allow myself at my advanced age to to be sad because of what I am not. It damages the skin of my face, and my inner organs.
“I have to be happy, instead, over what I am.”
I HAVE TO BE HAPPY, INSTEAD, OVER WHAT I AM.