Happy Yom Kippur, friends! For my non-Jewish followers, Yom Kippur is a Jewish holiday that recognizes the importance of atonement and repentance. It is a holy day, and for most, it is the holiest day of the year in Judaism. Now, whether or not you’re Jewish, you have to admit there is something so powerful about having a day devoted to both asking for forgiveness and, in a sense, getting a chance to start over with a clean slate. Similarly, I’m sure it’s no coincidence that today is also the first day of fall! In his 1925 classic novel, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald writes, “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall” (118). It may not be “crisp” where you are (yet), but the sentiment remains— today is a day for you to turn over a new leaf, a day for you to get a second chance, and an opportunity for you to start over.
We spend nearly 365 days of the year living in a world obsessed with success and becoming successful with little to no regard about how we get there or who we step on to make that happen. In a society so focused on getting there, it’s easy to lose sight of who you are and your purpose. Whether your goal is to join the varsity hockey team, earn straight A’s, get accepted to your top choice college, or be promoted to a higher-level position, don’t let that drive for success turn you into an emotionless and disconnected zombie. Take a moment out of your busy life to:
Reflect on life’s blessings thus far—big or small, we all have something for which we can and should be grateful.
Repent for all of the mistakes you’ve made and the people you’ve hurt, BUT, don’t beat yourself up for it too much. We all make poor judgment calls at times, and what matters most is that you ask for forgiveness, learn from your mistakes, and don’t repeat the past.
Recollect and humble yourself. Perhaps you’ll let someone else answer your teacher’s question or pass the ball to your teammates. Maybe you’ll be the first person to apologize after a fight with your friend. Being humble isn’t easy, it takes practice and patience, so try breathing and centering yourself through meditation, yoga, prayer, or mindfulness training so you may have peace in the midst of whatever or whomever you’re facing.
and Reconnect with what matters most—your loved ones, your faith, your purpose.
While Yom Kippur is one holy day devoted to doing this meaningful and important work, we should be intentional and carry its core purpose with us wherever we go. This self-care and self-improvement takes time, focus, energy, and dedication. What’s wonderful about a day like today is that it’s a reminder that it’s never too late to start over, it’s never too late for a second chance, and it’s never too late for a fresh start to be a better you.