Twenty years ago I left Israel for America with a vague outline of what lay ahead. Central to the purpose was accessing a higher education. At a subconscious level, I had set out on a journey to the center of my self. While I have returned every three years or so to visit with family and friends, this time is different. Indeed, it marks the twentieth anniversary of my emigration almost to the day, short of one or two weeks. As I observe and listen to family members or old friends, re-connecting and sharing stories, I realize that changes within me are deep and permanent. They have taken place at different levels: emotional, cognitive, and physical.
Physical is easier to see. Simply. I am older, wider, grayer, not quite as lithe or flexible. Not as tanned or supple. Emotionally and cognitively is more subtle to behold, and takes time to emerge. I find, that as I had felt when I first emigrated to America, I experience now back in Israel: anonymous. For, much of what I feel and think has changed profoundly. Perspectives are broader and confidence stronger. It would take time to unfold and uncover the me of now with people who knew me then. And, who knows? We might not suit one another any longer - having moved in different directions at all those levels. Interests and needs have changed along with ideas and opinions. And, oh dear - perspectives - these seem to have changed most of all.
I feel at home here. No doubt about it. Smells, tastes, sights, all are comforting to my senses and I sleep deeply, waking up to each new day refreshed and excited. But, at the same time I yearn for the New World. For, there I grew up. Became mature, found my core, the essence of who I am, and strengthened the Bambi-like shakiness I had been experiencing for thirty eight years prior. There, I found peace of mind, self acceptance - self acknowledgment.
There are stories I could tell about how I am arriving at these conclusions, this early Saturday morning as I rise out of my slumber, breathing in the Middle Eastern air. More important, however, is the discovery that I have, indeed, moved on. Although, pieces of my past undoubtedly make up who I am today, I am no longer the person I once was. Most exciting of all is that I think I am starting to like who I am now. And that is the most profound difference of all.
A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Losing my voice to find it again