Gefilte Fish Out of Water

OMG – Did I do one giant geographic !?!
January 30, 2010, 12:04 pm
Filed under: Amerijones, Feelings, Struggles

I realized this week I am a little bit depressed.  Nothing clinical – I can still get out of bed, and all.  I wonder what brought it on though – was it that Cellcom rep who called me this week and offered me a better plan?  It really was a better plan, so I took it – but she did tell me it was for 18-months and I’d be penalized for opting out early.  I’m not going anywhere, and I’m happy with Cellcom, so I had no problem with that restriction.

….or did I?

This could have something to do with turning 40 recently, also.

Look, here’s the thing: I feel my career ran its course back in New York.  I don’t want to return to the field of public relations.  If I did plop back down in NYC – what would I do ???  While I want to choke my fucking boss who I can’t stand am ready to move on from my primary job, I am quite excited about the direction of these new developments – doing social media consulting for ROASTe and hopefully soon also for Seital.  And, when I get enough of this new work to free myself from the hell that is my main job, I’ll have more time to work on my memoir about moving to Israel.  Plus, the weather is great here, I like living among so many Jews, and I feel a strong, Zionist connection to Israel.

But for sure, the novelty of being here has worn off.  Things that were at first so exciting and fun – Riding my bike around town like a 12-year-old, which I haven’t done since 1984, Whee! – are now completely whatevs.  All the other things, too – now that they’re not new, but they just are, I’ve realized that emotionally, I feel right where I was back in the fall of 2008 before I left New York: wanting a husband and to start a family…wanting to be in a higher income bracket that would finally allow me to travel,  live in a nicer home, dine out and actually, you know, buy things when I’m out and about (I think they call it shopping?)….just a general feeling of not being satisfied anymore with my simple life of work, gym, AA, net surfage, a diet of mostly frozen food (with assorted junk binges), etc.

I did move to Israel very quickly and with a certain degree of spontaneity, but it never felt blind.  I thought about it a great deal, and it felt very organic.  I had ‘done’ New York after 17 years, and with my job in jeopardy, I felt a window closing for me there….and one opening for me here with new opportunities and choices.

In AA, there is an expression of ‘taking a geographical cure’ as a method to control your drinking.  You know, if I just move someplace else, things will be different and my drinking won’t be a problem anymore.  The problem isn’t with me….it’s with New York. We call the shorthand for this: doing a geographic. I certainly never felt as though this is what I was doing with my move to Israel.  But hell – now that I’m at where I am emotionally, it makes me think:

Was this move all about doing one big geographic?

There is no escape from yourself, though.  Wherever you go….there you are.

I miss my family, but that is not the kicker.  I speak to them (in Philadelphia) about as much as I did when I was living in New York.  Don’t take this personally, Mom, but What I really miss is being around my deep bench of sober, gay AA friends in New York.  I see and interact with them all on Facebook and many of them on Twitter, and thank God for it.  It is no small thing at all; you know who you are: we comment on each other’s photos and statuses daily and 8,000 miles and a whole bunch of bits & bytes away, you are still my support system, and I love you. And I have a real & true & loving support system here, too, I do: Anna, Leah, Jeremy, Danny, Nir, Liron, Abi, Lawrence, Ronnie, Junie.  I’m grateful you are all in my life.  There were just more of you in NYC, that’s all.

כל יום ביומו.

“One day at a time.”  That’s what the above phrase says.  I have it tattooed on my arm.  So, there really is no need to figure out “where I am going to be for the rest of my life.”  But if I think of how freakishly cold Israeli apartments are in the winter, and their small sinks and mineral-heavy water….or everyone and their mother parking on the sidewalks, or having to seriously improve my Hebrew because this Hebrish crap just ain’t cutting it, or buildings here that just look so Third World that they appear as though they might crumble any second (and many more things native to Israel), I can easily answer myself with – Uh-uh.  No way.  This isn’t forever.  I miss First World development & feel…places that are big & clean & spread out, that just look as though they belong in the 21st century and not from 1930 or 1860.  I may not enjoy many things about my New York City neighbors who aren’t just like me, but maybe that’s something I need to work on, you know?

As for my new career as a social media consultant, there is something to be said for the fact that Israel is a very small pond (7.1 million people, less than all of New York City), and it’s a very good & safe environment for succeeding and rising to the top of your field if you are good at what you do and work hard (which I am, and I do).  Not that I couldn’t make it in New York, too (isn’t that how the song goes?), but as a person who’s always been a Late Bloomer, maybe I could really benefit from doing this work from over here.  Plus, the economic recovery in the U.S. continues to be fitful, and I know plenty of people out of work; do I really want to return NOW and jump back into that (economically) depressed environment?  That’s another argument for remaining here, at least for the next few years.

My friend Junie said of course I’m depressed; it’s because I’m working too hard.  After she said this, she went for coffee with some more of my friends, while the other people we were hanging with went to a street fair on Rothschild Street.  I went home to go to work for a few hours, even though Friday is the weekend here and no one works in the afternoon.  I proved her point immediately!  It’s true.  I may go out to a bar or club once a week, and I typically meet my friends Anna and Leah for coffee once a week, but other than that – it’s ROASTe work, memoir writing, job search efforts, errands and cleaning in the mornings, then my main job from 2-9pm, then the gym, then unwinding for a few hours online with Facebook, Mashable, Perez, Atraf, TV Shack and, then sleep.  Even my main break from work is getting boring – taking Pete to the dog park.  Good for him, and I am making some regular friends from going there, but it ain’t enough.

No tidy summation from me at the end of this post.  Just feel like I’m done musing for now.  We’ll see how I feel when I read it over after hitting ‘publish.’

Maybe I’ll move to San Francisco…


I swear to God, what song do you think came on my iPod immediately after hitting “publish”?  Leaving New York from REM’s album Around the Sun. What does that even mean, God?


8 Comments so far
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Let me just say that this reaction to Israel is completely normal. I went through it (and will go through it again when I return) and everyone else I know who has been there long enough goes through it. Let’s face it… Israel is a shit dump in a lot of ways (and I’m talking about the native people too). It’s your Judaism that should make you feel without a doubt that this is the place for you. Since I’m not a Jew, it’s being with my Israeli partner that gets me through those depressing times. But it’s definitely a struggle. No doubt. Maybe you can take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone.

btw… how is that word pronounced? ביומו? be’yomoo? be’yoomoo? In time?

Comment by Jami


Thanks, Jami. I’ve been thinking about you a lot this week – since my Twitter tirade against Obama & the Dems. This may have been operating underneath that. (BTW, while I didn’t watch, I did read a few NYT reports and analysis pieces, and I now feel Obama hit a lot of good points in his speech, like when he told Dems not run for the hills, and how he went to the GOP conference a few days later.)

I try to keep my focus on individuals and the people I interact with. Through that lens, I know some very nice native Israelis here. But I do get what you’re saying, re: the Israeli “out to screw you before you screw me” stereotype. Cliches are around, b/c they work. But I don’t like hearing from other people about “all gays are…”, “all Jews are…”, “all blacks are…” etc. So, I try not to speak in those terms.

Also, it’s weird – my connection to Israel is less about my Judiasm and more about my connection to the Jewish people. Like, I’m not sure if my God even is the Jewish God, good ole’ Yahweh. (I’m not afraid to write the word God or the name Yahweh, like some Jews are; the Higher Power I found in AA doesn’t give a crap if I write his name). I’m almost closer to a B’hai faith – that there is only one God for all of humanity, even for atheists and agnostics…probably even intergalactically, fellow Pandorans.

I more identify with a group of people living in Israel 5000 years ago, who got booted by the Egyptians and wandered around and became the Diaspora living throughout the world. For me, it’s more a heritage thing (as if I equate Jewish with Croatian or Italian, or another nationality) than it is a religious one.

But definitely appreciate the empathy, and I’ve gotten some more on Facebook from posting the link to this G-Fish blog post. Thanks for sharing this with me.

Comment by skatp

I guess when I wrote “judaism” I really meant your bond to other Jews which is not related to religion, per se. I also don’t want to lump all Israelis as being jerks (I’m in love with the most amazing Israeli, for god’s sake!) but I think we all know the mentality that rubs us the wrong way.

Anyway, you are on an adventure… not the finish line. Meditate and analyze these feelings and everything will become clearer.

Also, I’m sending some serious husband finding energy your way because, girl, you need a man! 😉

Comment by Jami

And HOW!

Comment by skatp

Hey Scott, This is a REALLY great post. I agree with Jami. It takes a while to get used to a new environment; it isn’t going to be new exciting forever but it may always feel right. I supported your move over there because you had really great reasons to go and it was just the right time in your life. I still support you while you’re there. These feelings will pass but, moving back to soon is something you may look back on with regret. I seriously doubt that you will ever regret moving there in the first place. It’s an exciting adventure that you’re still on. If I’ve learned anything from life it’s, nothing is ever perfect. We all have unrealistic expectations, unfulfilled dreams and minute grievances that often get us down but they are just life and mainly growing pains. Hang in there bud, I’m really proud of you for doing this. xoxo! 😀

Comment by justin

Thanks, J. You’re right – I do NOT regret moving here, and I don’t think I ever will. And I’m not even sure I want to move back now. No, not sure. I am hanging in there, and feel especially blessed to have friends like you and Jami (and people messaging me or writing on my FB wall, where I posted this) supporting me with your comments and love. Thanks, J. Love.

Comment by skatp

nice pics. Who took those? Seriously though try to practises what is called הודיה = being grateful, for those whatevs while they r happening.

Comment by Danna

Kinsky !!!

LOL, do I owe you a royalty now or something? (I am seriously laughing out loud). Full disclosure, anyone reading the comments – Danna Kinsky took those great pics! See my blogroll for more…)

Hey, you are right. Thanks for that Hebrew word/concept. It makes a lot of sense, and when I DO stay in the moment, I’m usually a happy guy. xo

Comment by skatp

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