Yesterday afternoon, I went to a talk that my Hebrew professor, Helen Plotkin, was giving about a Jewish holiday called Sukkot that’s going on right now. It’s a festival week after the harvest, and it’s a time to celebrate. In Hebrew, the phrase is “z’man simchateinu,” which means, “the season of our rejoicing.” Helen talked about simcha, joy, and how it’s supposed to be the general mood after the harvest, even though the future is unclear and you really can’t know if there will be droughts or plagues just around the bend. In fact, part of the way that it was celebrated back in ancient times was by pouring huge quantities of water (a rather vital and rare resource in the desert) on the altar, rather than conserving it just in case.
That’s how I’ve been feeling lately: I am SO stressed about my classes and my thesis and grad school, and I really don’t know at all what my future–– even the next month–– is going to be like. But this is also my last year at Swarthmore, and I don’t want to waste it being unhappy, holed up in my room groaning about my agony. So I’m trying to do fun things, even though part of me is screaming that I need to go work myself to death and I don’t deserve sunlight until I’ve read and annotated every possible reference for my thesis.
Luckily, the past few weekends there have been a bunch of activities going on that my friends and I have gone to. First Miriam, Hannah, and I went apple picking at Linvilla Orchards with the Swarthmore Christian Fellowship, making the most of a really nice late summer day. Between the three of us, we picked nine pounds of apples, which we’re still eating and putting into baked goods, and we ate a significant amount of kettle corn, watched a freeze dance contest for little kids, and battled our way through a corn maze.
Last week, there was a carnival with moon bounces and a photo booth behind Sharples, in honor of Coming Out Week, and even though you could make a pretty good argument that I should have been inside working, I was outside having fun with my friends.
Do I regret it? No.
And two days later, when it was College Day in Philadelphia, with free museums for students and free shuttles to take us around, when Linda and Miriam and I ventured in for all the Korean barbecue we could stomach ($10 a person!) and Eastern State Penitentiary, we agreed not to worry about homework or convince ourselves to go home early.
I am worried about the future: what I’m going to do next year, when I’ll find time to write the essay due in 4 days. But I’m happy. I’m happy to be here, to take an hour for aikido, for my radio show (listen Wednesdays at 10 a.m. at wsrnfm.org!), for a late night conversation with a friend, for baking alone so I have an excuse to just pound on some dough and clear my head. This is a good time; this is the season of my rejoicing.