I know, a seemingly mismatched pocket, but go with me on this — they connect.
It is often the little things in life — like fun chachkas — that make my day; I have these emoticon pens that just light me up. I bought one for James (my partner) and one for me; using mine makes me think of him. Now, I don’t love all chachkas — too much clutter makes me crazy — but a well-placed article can turn my frown upside down; I have this moving dreidel that just makes me belly laugh every time.
The thing is, it is not just the physical “little things” that make me smile. A language-based “little thing,” such as the act of learning a new word — particularly a new Yiddish word — also brings me joy!
Why? A combination of two factors. The clients who teach me Yiddish are very dear to my heart — and I feel privileged that they share their culture and life stories with me. Plus, I actually love what I know of Yiddish; it has a unique way of capturing the human condition. Currently I am listening to Yiddish For Pirates and loving every minute of the pirate adventure (spoken partially in Yiddish). It is probably worth noting that I am not Jewish, and James hates that I love learning Yiddish — I think he thinks it is cultural appropriation — but I mean it in the most respectful way; I use the learning experience as a method of connecting with my clients and as a way to have a “beginner’s mind” (which is a goal of mine — to look at the world as often as possible through a beginner’s eyes).
Two of my favourite Yiddish words are mechaye (pleasure, enjoyment, a real joy) and bashert (destiny). When I am having a really bad day I tell myself to find a “mechaye”; somehow the act of phrasing it that way makes the experience more significant than “find something to be happy about.” I call James my handsome basherter — he doesn’t love the nickname, but it makes me smile.