I have always associated the start of spring with that of a new beginning. Some might argue their new beginning is when the ball drops at midnight at the start of a new year. But springtime has always resonated with me as being a fresh start. The world around us begins defrosting, flowers begin to bloom, and the sun shines brighter than in the months before.
The early days of spring usually signify to the Jewish people that Passover is approaching. For some Jewish individuals, this special holiday might be the first time they are reunited with their families since the new year to celebrate being together. It also allows us the opportunity to commemorate the liberation of the Jews oh so long ago. Celebrating a new beginning for the original Jewish people!
While celebrating Passover might look different this year than it has in years past, I think it is no coincidence that the light at the end of the tunnel has started to shine through during this crazy pandemic, as we begin to enter spring. I feel as though for the first time in MONTHS, I can actually see an end to this modern-day plague, much like the Jews in Egypt could toward the end of their battle for liberation from the Egyptians.
I have struggled immensely with my own mental health this past year, as the isolation and quarantining has forced me to spend countless hours alone with my own thoughts. I am a college-aged individual, so on top of my mental health struggles, the pressures of school and the uncertain future have been laid upon me during this time. Despite all of these negatives, I can confidently say of all of the years of my life thus far, I am oddly grateful for this past one. We were all granted a time of reflection this past year — especially in the beginning, when most things were put on pause. During this pause, I did reflect. I was able to learn more about my inner self, discover new things I am passionate about, inform myself on issues going on in the world that I had never heard about before and truly develop a mindset of how important it is to live in the moment.
I feel as though many individuals struggle with the concept of the future, constantly looking ahead at what their next move may be, what goal they should set their mind on conquering next or etc. While it is great to have the future in mind, we can get lost in our own heads planning everything out. It’s important to try and practice mindfulness and really be present in the moment. I feel like this past year has pushed this idea onto me.
Spring offers new opportunities. With a vaccine being more available to individuals around the world, the beginning of the end is near. We can begin to move forward while practicing mindfulness. I don’t think we will ever really return back to the norm we experienced before this pandemic but, similarly to the Jews facing persecution from the Egyptians, we will soon be freed of this virus and able to move into a new beginning of our own.
Ally Sachs is a senior at the University of Georgia studying psychology and human services. The Marietta, Ga., native is passionate about mental health awareness, volunteer work and the Jewish community. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.