Needing A Little Breather

The winter continues to be brutal. The raining and cold weather is not dissimilar to what I experienced in the Bay Area and yet I find that my mood more often than not to be in the depressed range of things. Every day is the same thing, which typically I like but I’m finding that its all becoming too much. 

Yesterday I finally had enough. I came home and shut my phone off and took Autumn for a long walk. Blasting Demi Lovato I did something I haven’t done in a long time-I just reflected. staying in the present and letting my thoughts and feeling have the space and time they needed. I was exhausted at the end but it was much needed. 

I often talk about leaving the gan and wanting to focus on my business. It’s not because the gan in and of itself is a bad place but its because of me and how I operate. I’m emotionally, flat out exhausted. For 8 and a half hours a day, 5 days a week, I’m at the beck and call of 8 toddlers and their parents. Not to mention having to see and receive phone calls and messages on my day off (which I dedicate to my business) and in the evening from coworkers and these same parents. I feel the urge to respond and I cant turn it off. Now that we are short staffed I cant even take the days off that I request to actually spend time with friends or what have you or I’m being guilted into working on my day off. To top it off we have babies in my class who don’t belong, mothers who are away for business, pregnant or who have just given birth on top of kids who’ve been sick for weeks. So what’s left are incredibly needy toddlers who have decided that they don’t want to play with each other or alone but would rather fight with each other or tantrum if I’m not holding them. We are all tired and emotionally exhausted yet I have to be the one holding it all together, because thats me as a person and also as a therapist (wishing I new nothing about psychology right now). So it’s no wonder that my business is suffering, my personal life is suffering and well I’m suffering. I am burned out and I need a break. The next break isn’t until the end of March which is Pesach (Passover). I fear I wont make it until then. I’m at my wits end. Something has to give and so far it’s been my business and my personal life. 

This makes me incredibly sad. I am not ready to give up on Israel but in truth I didn’t realize the work situation here. Yes I knew there was very little option but i wasn’t prepared for the emotional toll it would all take on me. I thought I was prepared to double down on the work, because I had done it back in my 20’s. But I’m 34 and in a different place in my life. A place where my time is more valuable than money. Where working as a therapist, my passion is what’s important to me, and where I would like to start a family. At the pace I’m going now I’m not sure if its possible for me to stay here. 

I met someone last month who was one week telling me how great things were, despite losing her job and she was happy she made aliyah several years ago. Now this month she’s gone, she left Israel, unsure if she would return. Is that the nature of this place, where one minute you feel like you’ve got it all figured out and the next you’re wondering why your still here. At this point I’m asking myself weekly why I’m still touching it out here. The answers range from not wanting to give up to not wanting to leave my friends. 

Back in 2012 I did some soul searching and discovered that there was more to making me happy than work. All aspects of my life, spirituality, relationships, career, health, and my interests/hobbies needed to be properly nurtured and attuned too. I made an effort to do this and my happiness, satisfaction and optimism rose. I was felt more free and open. My relationships with others improved, my health was better and I even learned that I liked cooking, I was apart of an active Jewish community, and I felt rewarded at my job even with the craziness. I tried new things such as trapeze class and got into camping, hiking, and knitting. I connected with my family, Sunday night board games, football and just sitting around laughing at stupid shit was rewarding. These are the things that are not only missing from my life here but the energy to engage in them is also gone. In it’s place is exhaustion and little desire to do anything but get lost in TV, books, or Sims 3. My shabbats are filled with me sleeping and still waking up tired. 

So that’s been me and why my blogs have been absent as of late. I have just lost my mojo. The thing that makes me, me and I’m on the path to finding it again. Recently a good friend did a tarot card reading on me and it was amazing all that came out but what was even better was just hearing her voice. The following week I had two Skype calls with two good friends and again I felt so happy and reenergized just catching up and hearing their voices. I think out of everything I’m missing my people. The folks I’ve known for years who’ve seen me at my worst and at my best. Who know me so well and can support me when I need it, without me even having to say anything. Relationships like this require trust and safety which happens over time. So I hope to create something similar here, but thats if I can get out of this funk. 

Some positives because its important to highlight these as well. I continue to be noticed and appreciated at work for all the good I do by my parents, coworkers and management. I am getting calls from potential clients which means that I’m making a splash online. Since I haven’t been on the top of my game I’ve let those opportunities pass by but now that my babysitting gig is over I have more time to focus on other things in life. It looks like I’ll be approved as a contractor for which should bring me a string of new clients and my application for Cigna insurance has also been approved so hopefully I can get paneled and have clients soon. I’m also looking forward to attending my good friend of over 10 years wedding the second week of February and having the opportunity to dress up nicely for a change. So those are the things that I’m looking forward to. As for the rest only time will tell, but by just getting it all out there I feel a sense of clarity and release that has been absent for months.

Happy Aliyahversary and Other Random Musings

Wow things have been crazy for me. Lots of stress and questioning myself and my decisions. When things don’t go as we planned or hope we can do it ourselves and thats where I was. As my first year living in Israel came to a close I was confronted with past demons that I thought I had stayed. I discovered that I had lost myself which in turn left me with a lack of motivation and hope that my situation would improve. Forced to be vulnerable and ask for help, I learned something about the power and importance of having an emotional support system. Although I frequently tell y clients this, and help them build support, its interesting that I had forgotten about my own.

As I reflected at the closing of the year I realized I had to stop running. I had to stop avoiding the hard stuff (finances) and fully embrace all that life has to offer. I looked back on all the reasons I decided to make Aaliyah and forced myself to confront all the toxic behaviors and thoughts about what I deserve which were holding me back. In this I dedicated myself to reconnecting with friends and family, making sure that I made them a priority and not work. I also forced myself to make my health and eating well more of a priority than I hand over the course of the past year. I found my bucket list and my goals list that I created back in 2014 which changed my life and looked at all that I had accomplished.

Sometimes when we are in the thick of things its easy to see all of our short comings and to feel like we haven’t accomplished much, and thats how I was feeling. Especially when things were not going as planned. But by sitting down and really hashing out my finances (and realizing that I was better off than I thought) and connecting to loved ones, I was in a great place.

Finally by creating a plan for transitioning out of my full time job so that I can fully focus on my business I felt more positive about being an entrepreneur which I think G-d heard as I finally booked my first client (and after receiving three total inquiries in a week which is the most I’ve had since starting out).

So I write this blog on my second birthday here in my home of Tel Aviv (well technically I’m on the bus but you know semantics) I am grateful for my wonderful family back in the states who love me unconditionally, support me emotionally and financially (thanks mom), and who can always make me laugh. To my good friends who live all over the states I just love you all and the families your creating (can’t wait to see all the new babies in the summer G-d willing) and for putting up with me when I was in self doubt mode. Lifting me up and reminding me of my value. And finally to my new friends (and old) here in Israel I love getting to know you and being able to come to you for help with Hebrew or just words of encouragement, especially those who made aliyah from the states.

July-Living in the Red

Today I  scrolled through my Facebook feed and spotted a comment on one of the many groups for olim-Keep Olim, that caught my eye. The man mentioned that his wife was pregnant with their second child and he wanted to know how to make ends meet. Or rather how others made ends meet. This will not be a blog about my views on his lifestyle but rather on the question, how do people make ends meet?

One of the reasons I made aliya was because I felt connected to the country but the reason I wanted to move away from the US in general was for a better quality of life. A quality of life not bound up in work-trying to make money to pay off what seems like an endless list of bills. No I wanted to start a family, see the world, learn Hebrew, and be surrounded by the love of family of friends. Yes work is important, especially for me as a therapist, healing trauma survivors, but it’s not the only part of me.

As a new olim I received, for 6 months, money from the government to start life here. July is my first month without it and man did I feel it. It wasn’t a lot to begin with but for the first time I did what I didn’t want to do and that was live in the red. I shake my head as this is common practice for Israeli’s but I don’t like it. Prior I was making ends meet, but with an hourly wage that’s dependent on how many hours per month I work, its hard to create a budget. 

So I can say this move has not taught me anything more than before about living within my means. It’s very hard to do, especially when you come from a place of having abundance, to starting all over and your back to hustlin. In the past my salary was enough for me to cover expenses for my practice but now its a tough choice trying to invest in myself. The options are to take out a loan or continuously be in overdraft. It’s a lose-lose situation. 

And yet I work at a private gan in which these parents have money. Many of the moms do not work and they have multiple children and multiple cars. Some have homes, which is tough in Israel according to many because its so expensive, while others live in nice apartments. Some how they have managed to live within their means. Many are either natural born Israeli’s or they are the spouse of a natural born israel, living here and starting a family much like I want to do. So they have made it work. 

So what’s wrong with the likes of the man who posted the question, me and the other people who responded not having a clue? Why is it that some people have managed to live within their means, not struggling? I once had this life, but it’s because my job, however much I wanted out, was some place that needed me and paid me decently. My masters degree was worth something, and even though I lived the lower middle class lifestyle, I made enough to save, take a big vacation, own a car and pay off bills. Twice a month I was paid and I could still enjoy a meal with friends or have a weekend getaway. Now this life alludes me, which I knew it would at least for the first year I lived here, but now that i’m experiencing it I’m going through a little bit of a mourning process. 

At the same time I miss doing therapy, so much my heart hurts. Theres a huge piece of my identity that is missing. My work at the gan is good, I love those kids and the moms are the best (and well the dads I know are too), but these are typically developing children. They of course need my love, they are little ones missing their parents while they are at work, but next year I’ll be with 2 and 3 y/o’s who have moved past the separation anxiety phase. It’s going to be a lot of limit setting and need for autonomy so my days will be different. The love will be there because I just cant work with a child, get to know them, and not love them. But it will be different for sure.

So it’s more than one thing I think at play for me this month which is why it has taken forever for me to update you all on my life. I’m feeling lost but not alone. I’m feeling overwhelmed and like I’m grieving for the first time. I’m lucky to have found amazing connections in Israel…that keeps me a float…but I still need to make money. I still need to do therapy. I want to move out of this place of hustling for everything to feeling steady.

As part of reconnecting with therapy and my business I joined a consult group in which we are all trying to build our practices or make our practices ideal and more conducive for our lifestyles. It’s a exercise in having us move from a scarcity mindset in which we feel that clients and resources are limited. It makes me wonder if this is actually the key to peoples success with money, the understanding and belief that resources are not scarce, and that there is enough out there to sustain us all. But how does one move into that place, change your mindset? I’m still trying to figure it all out, but in the meantime I will continue to live in the red, make connections with friends new and old here in Israel, and stay fully present and active in my consult group.

Weeks 8+9: February is rough

This week has been pretty tough. I’ve spent the past couple days feeling completely overwhelmed with everything. I can feel the shift by the two instance five had on the bus two different days where I had to yell at people and then while walking today yelling at someone on a bike. 

The top of my plate is finding an apartment. I’ve been searching for the past couple months for an apartment in Tel Aviv within my 3500-4000 shekel/month budget and I haven’t found anything that I like. I set the goal to be in my own apartment by March 1st and I’m scared and kind of grieving the fact that I most likely wont get an apartment that i really love but i’ll have to settle for a studio or an apartment in a bad neighborhood. Hey no one said aliyah was easy, but things had been going so well I almost forgot about this fact. I wish I had more time but I just don’t. On the positive there is an apartment that is back on the market that I’ll be seeing tomorrow so fingers crossed it works for me.

The other thing that makes me feel a little bit a lot sad is the my practice isn’t growing and I really miss doing therapy. I feel sad that I don’t make enough to just take a couple huge leaps and so I am in the process of looking for a second job online. 

So that’s kind of where I am at this week in my aliyah journey. I am so grateful for my friends and family back home for supporting me as well as the few friends I have here plus a couple of my coworkers who make work feel more fun and less like work for being there. Autumn too is having a little bit of a hard time with moving around and transitions but I am happy to have her here with me. 

So my hope for the next week is that I can get the apartment I really want, land a second job and start to get some clients online.

Week 7: The Worst Week so Far

Well I have had a pretty good run at things running smoothly overall since making aliyah. Over the course the past 7 weeks, despite my very limited Hebrew, I have gotten a cellphone plan, opened a bank account, gotten a Rav Kav, found a job, received my first paycheck, gone on a date, and generally have a clue about the way things work. I have not had the time to spend with friends, except for my birthday, go to Ulpan or make new friends but I know in due time this will happen. The job is going well and I’ve been finding time to work on my private practice.

So the week started off like any other…I discovered I could wake up at 4am and not 3:30 or 3:45 and get to work on time. So I’ve taken advantage of that. I’ve been using my commute to write blogs and do some marketing for my private practice in California rather than sleeping.

So its the first week of February and I’m waiting to get pid. I have 100 shekel to my name and I’m making it stretch. I go to the ATM at 4 am to get cash so I can catch the bus to work on Monday and the machine ate my card again. So Now I have a problem. The money situation is not great in the states as I wait for my last couple checks from Victim’s of Crime so I don’t want to use the card. Theres my business credit card and my business ATM card left but I don’t want to mix this but what choice do I have? So I use my business debit card and it works. I have cash for the bus. When I check my account online I saw that I got paid from work (yay). Except when I go to the office my boss is asking me about bank details and she tells me she hasn’t yet paid me (yet there is a miraculous 5,000 shekels in my account). Well it turns out it’s my government money (thanks Israel) but it’s twice what I was expecting which makes me nervous. But I get paid from them and then my boss later that day and I feel like one rich woman (10,000 shekels looks like a lot of money even though its only like $3,000).

I go to the bank on Tuesday to retrieve my card and after a whole lot of drama she tells me she mailed my card to my house. I withdraw cash and I’m on my way.

Now the best part of the week (sarcasm). I was informed the following week I’d need to vacate my current room for a couple days while one fo the daughters comes home and stay in the guest room. So the night before she arrives I learn that there was an overbooking so I would stay in my current room for the night while the daughter stays with one of the siblings until Wednesday when the guest whose staying in the guest room leaves. Well at 7 on Tuesday I’m informed that I will actually be staying in one of the boys’s rooms until Wednesday and then moving to the guest room, but she wasn’t entirely sure and she was still trying to figure it all out. Well I fall asleep at 9 (excited that I might get 7 hours of sleep for my 4am wake up call) but theres  knock at the door. Guess who gets to move to the couch because “no one wants to move rooms”. So At 9pm I am clearing out of the room and the daughter is not even home yet. Now all I hear around me is noise, Autumn is super discombobulated and wont settle down and I am wound up too. Since it’s 11pm at night and this girl is not home yet I cannot sleep because I just know I’ll hear her when she comes in and wakes me. Now I want people to comment on this to see if it makes any sense. Why would you have someone be a guest at your home only to constantly play musical rooms whenever your child comes home? Especially if said child isn’t even coming in until late, why can’t she come crash on the couch for the night? Why am I crashing on the couch and I have to get up at 4 am?

Any way I’m upset and frustrated. I’m tempted to either spend my money on a sublet until I find a place or an airbnb because this is crazy. I don’t want to move around a million times and I don’t want Autumn moving a million times either but this is fucking crazy. If I ever offer to let someone stay at my house I would never do this to them. It’s humiliating and it feels cruel. I understand you want your kids to feel at home but you don’t care that your inconveniencing me. It makes me feel unwelcome and like a burden. So To say that this is the worst week so far is spot on. I hope next week will be better.