I consider myself special. I was born into a parochial ultra-orthodox community and gainst all odds have made the daring decision to liberate myself from its irrational rigors and strive towards the fulfillment of the American Dream: upward soci0-economic mobility. But, has my effort yielded unequivocal success? Far from it! Not only have I not achieved the reult or anything close to it but an argument can be made that I am currently living an evevn less desirable life, with considerable isolation, insecurity and instability due to my wavering position between the two ends, having left one community and not having been admitted to the other.
However, it's important to stay focused on the ultimate goals. Life is not about what one accomplishes but about what one strives to accomplish. It's about direction. Where am I heading? What am I running away from, or "walking" for that matter, and what am I running or walking towards? It's essential to be able to definitively and resolutely distinguish between progress and regress. This does not mean that one may never engage in regressive activites once they have been identified as such. Sometimes, conservatism is the way to go for the sake of establishing the peace-of-mind and stability associated with continuity. However, one should never lose sight of the grand vision of progress and should engage in it whenever possible.
For example, right now I am getting ready to attend a seder (passover-night ceremonial meal). I do find some satisfaction in this meal. It conjures up feelings of belonging to a group and the ideas that this particular ceremony symbolizes, i.e. liberation from tyranny and injustice. However, ideally I have already firmly established intellectually that I would have been better off celebrating Easter (the Christian equivalent of the Jewish Passover) in a WASP (white anglo-saxon protestant) community than Passover in a Jewish community. Sadly, the Easter ideal is one that I will probably never attain in my lifetime and so it remain just a that: a theoretical concept, relegated to the blogosphere, barred from being invoked in Jewish circles, no matter how "enlightened they may be.
Other ideal goals that are largely unattainable by myself but to which I adore are:
More ideal height: I am 5"8 but it turns out to be a sub-optimal level. The optimal height is 5"10 or higher. The American white average, for instance, is 5"10 and so is the English. The German avergae is even higher. Those are some of the most successful cultures in recent History.
Ideal habitation: despite the seeming enviability of the densely habitated cities of the East Coase and the New York metro region in particular, those are "old school" success paradigms, at best. The wealth and success of New York city today is generated by the financial sector, which is a rather sub-par occupation due to the lack of any underliying lasting achievement resulting from today's fiancial activity. These days it's greed and unrealistic expectations that generates money to investors, bankers and traders, not any true wisdom or erudition. I am glad that this bubble is finally bursting, especially in response to the AIG bonuses scandal. Regardless, it truns out that ideal habitation is in California, particularly the famous "Silicon Valley" where the true producers of American Wealth are concentrated. The East has essentially lost out to the West Coast which is more desirable from an idealisting standpoint; that's where the true action is.
Occupation. Information Technology is definitely at the very forefront of occupational success. Recently, that has been best exemplified by companies like "google", concentrating not merely on building computers (IBM) or assembling code (Microsoft) but on interpreting information and on picking out the good from a vast sea of useless guff.
On the flip side, I should note, that retail positions are one of the least desirable in the occupation hierarchy since --like the financial industry-- it encourages deception and presentation over honesty and content. In the retail industry, the truth is almost never in the best interest of the retailer; they prefer whatever information ("popaganda") is most conducive to increased sales.
Vision. Unfortunately I use prescription eyeglasses to aid my vision. I have tried in the past to correct that through eye exercise activities and surgery but have reached unsurmountable roadblocks in this journey. There's no question that something has gone wrong here, either genetically or environmentally or both. One should not require the aid of artificial devices in order to perform essential life activities. I still don't know for sure what precisely is responsible for this handicap of mine.