web analytics
September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



The ‘Older and Improved’ Me


Kupfer-Cheryl

If you look at an ad or a commercial, more often than not the hype will be about the “new and improved” version of a product. The emphasis is on the fact that it’s “newer” and thus better than the “earlier” version.

Maybe that works for products, but as far as I’m concerned, if I had to promote myself, “older and improved” would be the selling point.

You read right – older and improved. With a birthday coming up three days before Purim, I will be a year older, and in my eyes that is a good thing. Many of my generation view an approaching birthday with the same enthusiasm as they do an upcoming root canal. Birthdays – and the increase in their years of life is a reality they reluctantly view as an annual occurrence they have no choice but to get through – like Tisha B’av. Just as in the case of the fast day, the morning after a birthday brings a ripple of relief that they don’t have to deal with this unwelcome herald of aging for another year.

I beg to differ. I am delighted that with the arrival of my birthday I get a year older. Older is good – because with age comes the wisdom of experience; the smarts that come from having “been there and done that” – or not.

In other words, I relish getting older because I feel I get less stupid. I gain more clarity, more sechel and the price is cheap – a few wrinkles, a slower metabolism, walking rather than running to catch the bus – a real bargain when you weigh the pros and cons.

I would not trade places with my younger, naïve, gullible self for any price – not even for the beauty, energy and vitality that is the domain of the young. I’m so much more comfortable in my “old” (more mature) skin, than I ever was in my “old” (read young) skin because introspection bestows life-enhancing insight. I know who I am and with that no longer elusive knowledge, there is sweet self-acceptance and approval.

When I was young, I let others tell me who I was. I let the opinions of significant – and insignificant others, whose journey intersected with mine, influence my opinion of myself. I allowed both friend and foe – sometimes they were the same entity, to define who I was. I listened to them. I believed them. My younger self did not know that the only opinion I should have heeded and taken to heart was my own. But I didn’t have the confidence that is the byproduct of experience.

I was too trusting of others and not trusting enough of myself. Those days are long gone and will never hold sway over me again.

While there were some positive voices, there were many that were unrelentingly negative. At some point I would have welcomed “parve” opinions – at least they did not hamstring my spirit and make me question my worthiness – but those too were rare. It took a very long time before I realized that many of those who were so critical were themselves so saturated with self-directed negativity that it seeped from their pores. With time I understood that they projected their own overwhelming feelings of inadequacy onto me – not because they were malicious or wanted to hurt me, but because that is all they knew to give. Someone who, for example, has only tasted pepper, does not comprehend sugar and thus cannot offer it.

With age comes an enhanced ability to reflect, analyze and assess. This introspection can lead to understanding and eye-opening answers to the long ingrained “whys” that gnaw at your soul. With many questions resolved, the “emotional potholes” that tripped you can be repaired and you can move forward on the journey you were detoured from.

With the passing of time, those in your younger years who in your naïve eyes were giants, actually shrink, get smaller, and shrivel; and eventually a light bulb goes off in your head and you realize that they were flawed and human, like yourself.

This amazing awareness leads to forgiveness, the emotional catheter that allows life-threatening resentment, bitterness and regret to drain out of you. It also inoculates you from further hurt; it is a shield that deflects any unwarranted, unjustified negativity, blocking crippling self-doubt from infecting you.

I have learned to avoid those who are have been or are or will be “toxic” to my well being. I may understand why they are the way they are, so there is no anger. But I will not let them undermine the “new” and improved me. I’m too old for that.

Happy birthday to me.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The ‘Older and Improved’ Me”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Gidon Saar Resignation Announcement
Minister Gidon Saar Unexpectedly Announces Resignation
Latest Sections Stories
Ganz-091214-Fifty

Today, fifty years and six million (!) people later, Israel is truly a different world.

Goldberg-091214

There will always be items that don’t freeze well – salads and some rice- or potato-based dishes – so you need to leave time to prepare or cook them closer to Yom Tov and ensure there is enough room in the refrigerator to store them.

Women's under-trousers, Uzbekistan, early 20th century

In Uzbekistan, in the early twentieth century, it was the women who wore the pants.

This is an important one in raising a mentsch (and maybe even in marrying off a mentsch! listening skills are on the top of the list when I do shidduch coaching).

While multitasking is not ideal, it is often necessary and unavoidable.

Maybe now that your kids are back in school, you should start cleaning for Pesach.

The interpreter was expected to be a talmid chacham himself and be able to also offer explanations and clarifications to the students.

“When Frank does something he does it well and you don’t have to worry about dotting the i’s or crossing the t’s.”

“On Sunday I was at the Kotel with the battalion and we said a prayer of thanks. In Gaza there were so many moments of death that I had to thank God that I’m alive. Only then did I realize how frightening it had been there.”

Neglect, indifference or criticism can break a person’s neshama.

It’s fair to say that we all know or have someone in our family who is divorced.

The assumption of a shared kinship is based on being part of the human race. Life is so much easier to figure out when everyone thinks the same way.

Various other learning opportunities will be offered to the community throughout the year.

More Articles from Cheryl Kupfer
Kupfer-080114

Unpleasant happenings are quickly discarded if they do not affect us directly.

Kupfer-071814

I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.

It is so hurtful to heighten people’s sense of inadequacy and guilt in a matzav that is already horrendous and difficult to bear.

Make no mistake: in the wrong hands cars are weapons of mass destruction.

Where once divorce in heimische communities was relatively uncommon, nowadays every family has a son, daughter, sibling cousin who is divorced – sometimes twice or even three times!

Many go about the business of living frum, observant lives, but they are only going through the motions.

Lately I have been hearing quiet grumblings from people who admit that they regret not encouraging their sons to get a post-high school education after a year or two of learning.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/on-our-own/the-older-and-improved-me-2/2010/02/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: