This is my attempt at blogging. I'm still learning about the blogging world, and this is my own personal study hall.

Thursday, January 27, 2005


I seriously don't uderstand how people do it.

I'm exhausted.

I get up in the morning at about 7, and that's because I'm in too much of a zombie state to get up when my alarm goes off at 6:30. Then I have to be out the door and in the car by 8 (which, of course, really means out the apartment door by 7:53-ish, because you have to wait for the elevator and walk through the parking lot to the car). Which is difficult, because some days, at least, I have to take a shower.

And I make sure to Daven Shaharis. But there is no Minyan in the area that starts after the time that I wake up and ends before the time that I have to leave to go to the Metro. There's the 6:15 Matzah Minyan (they finish in under 18 minutes); there's the 6:35 Minyan (which is, I believe, Sepharadi); there's the 6:45/55 Minyan (depending on the day of the week); and there is the lone post-Seth's-awakening Minyan at 7:30, which does not finish until about 8:05/15 (depending on the day of the week).

So I Daven in the other bedroom by myself. Generally, because of my slowness in waking-up matters, I end up throwing on my Talis and Tephillin, and saying Shema' and the 'Amidah, and saying a haphazard Tahanun whilst taking off my Tephillin. I keep myself motivated not to miss Shaharis the way that I used to keep myself motivated not to miss a day of Tephillin - I have not missed a day of Tephillin, Baruch HaShem, since the day before I went to Israel for the year (I'm not sure though, anymore, if that means that the day before I went to Israel was the first day of my current streak, or the last day before my current streak, but, with G-d's help, I'll keep my streak going for good). Baruch HaShem, since getting married, I have not missed a day of saying Shema' and the 'Amidah with my own Talis.

I believe I have had breakfast only twice since beginning my internship, and those were on days when Congress was not in session and I was coming in at 9:30 instead of 9. Now, though I have to be out the door before 8 in order to be in the door before 9, which generally means I rush out the door as soon as my Tephillin are wrapped, without even taking the time to properly fold my Talis. In other words, "Breakfast? What?" Oh, and of course you can't eat on the Metro here. You can get a hefty fine. It's not like New York's subway. In fact, there's a magazine here called "The Washingtonian" (I'm told it is similar to "New Yorker"), which had an article that Ali and I read about 3 months ago, which discussed how, when they were designing DC's Metro, they used New York's subway as their model for what NOT to do. Here they don't want any rats roaming through the system for some reason. Go figure.

So then I get to work at 9. I'm usually there until 5, often until closer to 5:30, occasionally until somewhere between 5:30 and 6, and rarely (like yesterday) until as late as 7. Now, if the actual Metro ride takes me 45 minutes to get to work, it takes a full hour to get back from work to the stop where we park the car in the morning. So, with all the little extra time-eaters (the walking to the Metro from the office, the waiting for the train, the transferring and usually missing the immediate transfer and having to wait 4 minutes for the next one, and the driving home from the Metro) I get home usually at about 7pm. So that means I am out of the house for 11 hours a day.

Then I have two blissful hours that I get to spend with my wonderful wife, followed by learning at 9, Ma'ariv at 10, and bed at 10:30 or 11, depending on how lenient Ali wants to be with me in allowing me to do things like, say, write a blog. So I'm almost always unconcious by 11. Not always by choice - some nights I would rather be doing something productive, like cleaning up from dinner or preparing food or cleaning for Shabbos. But the mere fact that I am awake right now at 11:00pm, is probably entirely attributable to the fact that I am sitting upright and engaging my mind, which will probably cease to function at all, no matter what, within the next 20-30 minutes.

So, all in all, Ali and I get to spend approximately 2 hours each evening together. Don't get me wrong, I have absolutely no intention of giving up my Havrusa. It is something I always wanted to have if I were ever to be stuck in a work environment (as opposed to having the luxury of being in a Yeshiva environment full-time), but it is NOT something that I anticipated actually succeeding in maintaining. B"H, I think the reason we have been successful is largely due to the fact that we started about two months before I got my internship, and it became part of my regular routine, so much so that I cannot now fathom giving it up. At this point I would sacrifice my career goals and cut out an hour or two early in order to have more time to spend at home with Ali, rather than cut out that one hour a day that I get to learn, BiQvi'us.

So I don't know how people manage. It blows my mind. I know there are other people out there with the same or very similar schedules to my own. There are people out there who work longer hours and still find time to learn and to be with their families. And I wonder. What happens when we have kids? I guess it becomes routine. That's life. You adapt. We're starting to develop our routine, finally, now that our six month honeymoon has ended. And really the week isn't so bad. The hard part now, is motivating myself to get up on Shabbos. That's the only time Ali and I have together now, and it is hard to give up any of that time, even the couple of hours in the morning, when we could be spending that time catching up on the week.

Seriously, to all of you who have done this before me, Kol HaKavod. We're working on it. It's just so weird. I've never had a schedule this full or this rigid before in my life. I guess I just have to get used to it.

Until next time,



Blogger Isaac said...

Well, I don't have it quite as bad as you do, workday-wise, but I feel very much the same way you do. The trick, they say, is in managing time, but that's a skill we have yet to master.

Regarding *H*avruta learning (sorry, I don't know how to make a bold Het in comments), I also feel very much the same way you do. It's a big sacrifice, but it's well worth it in many ways. I don't know if I could have gotten into it so strongly in the first place if not for my post-thesis euphoria. I wish you (and me) Hatzl*h*ah Rabbah in our learning, our careers, our families, and your blog (and my comments...).

8:12 PM

Blogger Koppie said...

I wonder if you check new comments on old posts.

You're lucky if you get to spend 2 hours a day with Ali. I'm lucky if I get two hours a WEEK of quality time with Yelena.

The difference between what you're doing and what I'm doing is that when I come home, my work doesn't stop. It is impossible to do all the work that is assigned in law school. So you can either give up and accept that you can only do so much, or you push yourself to study every waking hour, which is what I do. The result is not only that you are incredibly burned out and learn to hate life, but you get no time to spend with your significant other.

As with so many things these days, I just have to remind myself that life will resume when I graduate.

3:30 PM

Blogger Seth said...


I do regularly go back and see if there have been new comments made. I appreciate what you're saying about law school being unbearably hard. But the truth is, I think you are making it harder on yourself than it needs to be. I am not saying that I would necessarily do much better, but several of our friends in our building are in law school (mostly Georgetown), or have recently graduated (Harvard and Columbia are two that come to mind), all of whom are relatively recently married, and several of whom already have at least one child, and they've described to me their experiences as more closely resembling mine than yours. Also, it has gotten somewhat easier as we are slowly developing our routine. We know how much time it takes to get to and from DC and at what times of the day, and we are becoming more aware of what time we NEED to be asleep in order to successfully make it to work on time in the morning, etc. It's rough at times, but I do believe it will continue to get easier as we (and our bodies) become more accustomed to it.

1:35 PM


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