New Year, Newish Me*

*(Nothing to do with kids’ books, everything to do with #jewishgirls twitter prompts…)

I sometimes read Goop—Gwyneth Paltrow’s aspirational online lifestyle magazine–browsing the recipes and clothes that might change my life if I could just…would just…shop for the ingredients, do the gritty work celebrity fitness addicts do in their kitchens all afternoon, soaking beans, sautéing greens, developing new ways to keep quinoa at center stage–brush my teeth with it? Does it do anything for teeth? And I would track down those dance pants—the cool ones no one knows about yet, the ones from the real deal dance studio in LA, the ones that would make me return to a dance class ruled by Lululemon and girls who elbow each other for the front row to a round of applause for being the coolest.

The freaking coolest.

But I don’t do any of those things ever. I read Goop for fantasy. Because I already buy organic enough, sauté enough, eat quinoa enough (or at least from time to time), having sworn off gluten and its devilish ways years ago. And because those girls in my dance class will always look better—and dance better, let’s face it–in their lulu than I would ever look in anything, even underground dance pants from LA.fresh start

But a few weeks ago, I read in Goop a fine piece of writing by Jill Kargman ( that had nothing to do with any of these things. It had to do with Fall and the Jewish New Year and hitting a reset button after a long, sticky summer of routine-less days. And I felt her in that piece—her dismay at the lazy haze of a summer spent, in my case, nursing an injury that precluded my usual exercise routine, a summer spent staring at a blinking cursor on a laptop I practically had to dust-off for all the breaks I took in between writing.

I too, love fall, and partly because of Rosh Hashanah and the apples and the changing trees, and partly because of the changing me. I don’t make resolutions so much, but I do clean out my kids’ rooms for a new school year, shed my bulletin board of last year’s announcements, entering picture day and parents’ night into my calendar with double reminders.

And I do kiss my kids faces hard on the first day of school and tell them to be their best selves, to be curious, to be good to their friends and their teachers. Some of this I do to be organized and less of a yeller, but some of it—that last stuff for sure I do, because I pounded on my chest in a synagogue while my kids played tag in the lobby. Berating myself for things I could have done better or could have done without. And how is it going, you #jewishgirls asked in your prompt for this week? (

So far my kids are still smiling on their way out of the car, I haven’t yelled (so much), and I even combed their hair for picture day. Also, and this one’s important—like high holy days important—when my daughter asked me what to say when her friend asked her with some disdain why she was wearing a certain plaid, button down shirt (too preppy, prehaps?), I didn’t tell her to do any of the chest-pounding-worthy things I would have said pre-fast.

I said, “tell her you love her shoes.”

So far, so good.

5 thoughts on “New Year, Newish Me*

  1. Shireen says:

    I read Goop too and imagine the day when I have the time and head space to soak quinoa overnight 😉 But I love Fall and the chance to start again in so many ways.

  2. Carla says:

    nary a word to add.
    **throws up the Jewish Girls gang sign which is supposed to look like a Star of David but, instead, resembles a spasm**

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