As you should all know by now, I'm studying for two bar exams. I just finished law school and immediately packed up and moved to New York City. I was told by a previous beit din (that I am not working with now) that I had to move to NYC or Los Angeles in order to go forward with my conversion. All because I'm single and of childbearing age. I wasn't allowed to go forward with anything in my conversion for over a year now, being left to my own devices and without rabbinic guidance. That's a large part of why I got frustrated enough to begin this blog last October to hold myself accountable.
I had to wait to graduate school in order to move. If this conversion weren't in my life (or I had been satisfied with my conservative conversion), I could have stayed where I was already living or chosen another town. Instead, I had 2 choices: LA or NYC. I made my choice, and I moved. The conversion is the first thing on my mind, not the bar exams, not setting up my apartment, not even looking for a job. I haven't sent out a single resume, much to my dad's dismay.
I just turned 27. I can't date until after I convert, which means a very long time until I'm married. Being Southern (and all the stereotypes that has), I am already a "late bloomer" as far as marriage and family goes. Worse, living in a community with many singles, anyone who interests me and happens to be older than 22 isn't going to stay on the market long. I get to see the "good ones" plucked up while I wait. That's frustrating, both emotionally and physically. I'm only human, after all.
On the other end of the seriousness scale, I can't figure out how much money to spend on my kitchen right now because I will have to replace almost everything (since so much kitchen stuff can't be kashered) immediately after my conversion. If that is going to be two years from now, I would like to get decent quality kitchen items. If it's 6 months, I should buy the $3 pots at Walmart. It's amazing how paralyzing such a seemingly trivial decision can be.
In short, some days I feel insane. The famous stress of bar exams has only made this worse.
Seven weeks into my New York life, I was very behind in my bar exam studies (less so now) and I don't even have furniture. I put off my bar studies and jumped into learning halacha as much as I could, and to the detriment of my other responsibilities. I pursued the conversion by spending an inordinate amount of time shul shopping. I was so READY to move forward with my life, and I finally had the ability to do so after more than a year. Yet I was still moving at a snail's pace. But after a standstill, a snail's pace was still welcome.
All this sparked friends, family, and even rabbis to tell me to put the conversion aside and focus on my bar studies. What? That's crazy talk. With every day of someone telling me my priorities are misplaced, I became more frustrated and more alone.
I still feel that way. But now that I've written my post last Friday, I feel better because I got some of that frustration out of my system. And now I'm finally scared enough of the bar exam to shift my priorities there. After all, it's only a month more delay, right?
Lech lecha and lech lecha and lech lecha.