It's the Final Countdown


I have under a week before I make the biggest move of my life. After living in good ol' New York City for the last --redacted-- years of my life, I am making aliyah and moving to the Jewish homeland. Eretz Yisrael. Israel. The Middle East. However I say it, the move sounds huge. And scary. And life-changing. I am moving for a million reasons. Ideologically, I really do believe if a Jew can make aliyah, a Jew should make aliyah. This isn't to disparage the millions of diaspora Jews leaving outside of Israel, it's really just self- directed. I can live there, so I should live there! Easy peasy!
Except it is the opposite of easy for me right now. Saying goodbye to the world that I know, the people I love most and the comforts that surround me here in the U.S. of A. is harder than I expected. I most certainly didn't expect to get nostalgic seeing the mailman- aww, I'm gonna miss the way he wears headphones and never acknowledges my existence! My days are spent saying goodbye (see you soon!) to so many people I adore and can't imagine going months (years?!) without seeing. I imagine watching life in America pass me by, a stream of Facebook and Instagram pictures of weddings I can't make, babies growing into teenagers, events I can't attend; and it makes my heart ache a little.
Moving to Israel was an expected move by many ("Finally! It's about time! Don't you already live there?") but I know that actually living there, becoming an Israeli citizen, will be worlds different from my summer-long extended vacations. I don't see this as temporary, something that I'm "trying out." I see this as my new lifelong home, where I'm meant to be. 
 But then the stress sets in. I don't have a job or a permanent place to live. I will be living in an ulpan, trying really hard to obtain a fluency in a language that, for me, has pretty much been kacha-kacha (so-so) for 15 years. I don't plan on working in my chosen field of speech therapy, so I'm essentially starting over career-wise. I have a bunch of dispersed friends who live in Israel, but no cohesive social network. I am a New Yorker, so I'm pushy, but am IIsrael pushy? This bureaucracy everyone tells me will drive me insane- will it? And honestly, how how how can I fit all my shoes and clothes into just 3 bags?! It's all really a lot to wrap my head around.
As scary and unknown and stressful all of this is, I just think of something that a rabbi I knew once said. He said the opposite of pleasure isn't pain, it's comfort. And sometimes, in order to experience the pleasure, you gotta feel some pain. I know that the goodbyes and the packing and the red tape can be really painful. But I also truly believe that making aliyah and making a life in Israel will be the ultimate pleasure.