I like to run down the alphabet of my personal vices at this time, with a few updates for 5773:
Arrogance and apathy, blasphemy and boisterousness, crabbiness, doubt, egregious sarcasm, flagrant self-pity, gross ineptitude, haughtiness, ingratitude, jealousy, kvetchery, laziness, mouthiness, nagging, obnoxiousness, pride, quickness to judge, rudeness, shallow, total disregard for rules, unkindness, verbosity to the point of indulgence, yellow-bellied cowardice and zero tolerance for these qualities in others.
As always, my favorite way to remind myself to dial back these unholy but aggravatingly human qualities is to receive a short nugget of provocative sweetness every day of this month through the Jewels of Elul hosted by Craig Taubman. The joyful noisemakers of Craig n’ Co are big machers, so there’s all kinds of interesting people—Jewish and not—who contribute to this collection of wisdom and wit. This year Norman Lear, Peter (as in Paul and Mary) Yarrow and Quincy Jones (!) weigh in on this year’s theme on “The Art of Aging,” along with Israeli president Shimon Peres and the first female Orthodox rabbi Sara Hurwitz.
Sign up here to receive a jewel in your inbox for the next few weeks! At the very least, it’s a lovely way to start a day.
The Yenta is honored to have been a past Jewel contributor, but I have to say, I don’t know that I could have offered up anything nice to say about aging as an art. Personally, as my bum hip tweaks itself more often and my crow’s feet need much larger shoes, I find aging to be not so much a creative act but something that happens as a result of creation: We were each born with a certain amount of time, and that time, it flies, whether we put on fancy face creams or amass wealth or still try to pull off shopping in the juniors section.
Maybe the art of aging is learning to do more with less, or accepting the fact that we may never rid ourselves from the ugly and embarrassing attributes that we must repent for year after year.
In any case, as we Jews slowly pull the curtain on 5772, I’m acutely aware that while aging may bring wisdom, it sure as heck does nothing for your joints.