I’m the cook tonight. Right now I’m supposed to be out getting food together to cook for tonight’s ritual meal. So I’ll keep this entry brief.
I use the urgency and power of Rosh Hashanah to get my organizer’s life ready for the new year. Of course, as an organizer for the Massachusetts Teachers Association, the union’s new year is generally co-terminus with the Jewish New Year. But even when I worked for other unions and community organizations I saw this time of year as an opportunity for getting my act together.
I start with the simple and mundane. I update my address and phone lists – pouring through them, deleting those people I no longer contact and adding in all of the business cards and scribbled names that I’ve collected over the last year. I go through the extensive files I’ve gathered – tossing out or sending into storage that which I no longer need or that is no longer current. I go through my work and home emails –deleting all that I possibly can. I physically clean out my car, my attic, my office and my work desk at home – reviewing, sorting, and discarding what I can. I purchase and bring into use my next year’s wall calendars, “DayMinder” and “Desk Calendar” -- admittedly soon-to-be-obsolete tools for those few of us who don’t do our calendars on our phones. But while I’m using them I keep them current at this time of year.
But that’s not all.
I also spend at least one good solid hour thinking – thinking about the year past and the year to come. I think about what I’ve done, where I am, and where I want to go. What were the victories; what were the defeats. What am I still working on; what may I put to bed. I make a simple list of what I want to accomplish as the year progresses-- writing my goals for the different pieces of my work life. I find it helps solidify my thoughts and plans to write them down.
In short, I clean up, sort, and throw out what I can so I may start the year afresh and anew.
And you know what? It works – at least in a way. And this is proof. One of my goals this year was a blog entry for the Jewish Labor Committee.
Ashley Adams has been a union organizer, representative, and trainer for 32 years, since 2000 with the Massachusetts Teachers Association. He is also the past-president of Temple Hillel B’Nai Torah, in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. He has been a loyal member, and is a past-co-chair of the New England Jewish Labor Committee. He is happily married to a wonderful woman and is the proud father of two adult daughters. In his spare time he is a poker player and author, having written 'Winning 7-card Stud' (2003), 'Winning No Limit Hold’em' (2012) and 'Union Power Tools' (2012).