I’m doing something I never thought I’d do — I’m posting this on shabbos.
Life hasn’t always been fun for me. Admittedly, I grew up in a modern orthodox household with a pretty advantageous economic situation and parents who loved and cared about me. I have good friends. But beneath the surface, there have always been problems.
I have ADHD and suffer from anxiety and depression. I’ve gone through a divorce and, in an effort to fill the void caused by my newfound loneliness, I’ve turned to technology to entertain me. I find I need it to maintain my sanity, frankly, and shabbos can be very, very long when you’re feeling all alone — especially in the summer. The ADHD and the need for constant distraction also doesn’t help with that.
I always told myself “I’ll just go back to keeping shabbos normally when I get married again.” But, I’ve discovered a few things:
1) It can’t just be about the divorce. There are people who get divorced and live alone yet somehow they find a way to keep shabbos.
2) I find my connection to davening in general is not what it used to be. When I was a kid, I loved everything about davening and learning. There’s an element of pressure I always felt from my parents to do certain things but I find that, looking back, I still definitely did certain things because I felt a strong spiritual connection, too. I don’t feel that anymore and haven’t for years. I wish I did.
3) All I want in life at this point is to be happy, whatever the hell that means. I am proud to be Jewish, I like the idea of shabbos and I love the holidays. There are elements of Orthodox Judaism that I like and then there are things I find are very limiting and contributing to my life situation. Maybe I’d be happier living somewhere else (even if it’s not an orthodox community) where I could just meet other Jewish people regardless of their religious level. Maybe I’d be happier if I didn’t feel pigeonholed.
I have tried talking to rabbis about this, I’ve tried and am still trying to sort through my religious issues and searching for meaning and a connection. It’s very hard.
But, at a certain point, I feel like I have to decide, if I can’t figure out a way to bridge the gap: do I maintain a modern orthodox life even if that means I’ll probably be miserable and lonely, or is it better to just find your comfort level and be happy? It’s hard to know what’s right and wrong anymore, and of course I worry about what my friends and family would think.
EDIT: I do see a therapist.
Anyways, thanks for your time and Chag sameach.