A Year of Success, or Was It?

January 20, 2022
Lior Kolman

Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

Class of 2022

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2020: The year that everything fell apart. This was the year that our beloved COVID-19 virus surfaced, and the year that my mental health reached an all-time low. Overall, the year sucked. So, 2021 had to be better, right?

On the 31st of December 2020, I was sitting on a Zoom call with my friends (I know typical right?) waiting for the clock to strike midnight. As we “celebrated” New Years over Zoom, I began sobbing. That was the worst year of my life. The next one has got to be better right?

As I sat in a puddle of my own tears, I took out my phone and made a checklist of all the things I aspired to do in 2021. The worst was over; 2020 was the year of COVID, and the year of misery. 2021 was my year. So let’s take a look back at this checklist of mine and see how successful, (or how unsuccessful) my 2021 was. 

1. Have a good time in Sun City

What’s Sun City you may ask, and why is this at the top of my 2021 checklist? Sun City was my first vacation in 2021. It was actually my first vacation since COVID hit. Now, this may seem like the silliest goal. But hey, after living in sheer hell for a year I actually needed some fun in my life. And yes, this item is checked off my list. I had more fun this week than I had had in ages. 2021 was off to a great start, and so was my checklist—check.

2. Become a student leader

Not only was this a 2021 goal, but this was also a life goal. From the second I met my student leaders in eighth grade I knew that was where I wanted to be. Now, I’ve been working towards this goal throughout my entire high school career. On Monday, the 2nd of August 2021, the 800 students of King David Linksfield gathered onto the field to hear our principal call the 32 names out of the 170 grade 11 students who would lead the school for the next year. I have never, and I mean never, felt that anxious in my entire life. My entire body was shaking. It was a freezing cold winter day, and yet I was sweating. As I sat on the field squeezing my friend’s hands, I was preparing myself for the moment that my principal skipped past K and my high school goal would slip away. But then she said it: “Lior Kolman.” A massive weight was lifted off my shoulders. Little old me had achieved her greatest goal. Become a student leader—check. 

3. Get on chapter/regional board again

Ok, this one was completely my fault. As I mentioned, I wrote this at midnight on January 1st before my 11th grade year started. I came to learn that eleventh grade was most definitely not the year to be messing around and having lots of free time. Even before I got student leadership, I found myself always working, rarely having time for a social life. Then, when I got student leadership, my school workload only continued to grow along with my long list of leadership responsibilities. My social life very slowly became non-existent. Needless to say, I didn’t even run for chapter or regional board again because time was not at all a thing on my side. Get chapter/regional board again—blank. 

4. Sleep at my friends (there are 3 of them by the way) 

So my ideal situation of COVID not existing in 2021 was a fantasy and a half. This also seems like a silly goal, but it wasn’t a possibility in 2020, so I thought I’d make it a goal this year. So I went on holiday with one of them for like 3 days, which sort of counts. I managed to pull this off in the small window of time where COVID wasn’t in shambles, and I had a social life. I never did anything with the other 2. So I completed ⅓ of this goal. Better than nothing, I guess. Sleep at my friends—semi-check.

5. Hadracha 

Back story: Hadracha is a three-week trip to Israel that Bnei Akiva runs in July of your grade 10 year. My grade 10 years was 2020, and as we know 2020 sucked. So my trip which was supposed to be in July of 2020 got postponed to December 2020. Low and behold, 2020 sucked. My trip got postponed to July 2021. Well, now it’s definitely going to happen right? 2021 is going to be my year. So, July comes around. The new variant of COVID approaches, riots in South Africa break out due to the arrest of a man named Jacob Zuma, and needless to say, Hadracha got canceled, never to be rescheduled. Exams were online, and so my mental health took a plummet. And to top it all off, I was planning on coming to Kallah, but nope, I was locked in my room instead. Hadracha—forever blank.

6. Camp 

Bnei Akiva Campsite, AKA the happiest place on earth. My home. Three weeks with my favorite people. As December was approaching, I had come to accept that camp wouldn’t happen. Why would it? Everything else was canceled. Until October 2021 came around, and 12-17-year-olds were allowed to be vaccinated. Bnei put camp back on the table. THIS was the way I wanted my 2021 to end. The dates were released: December 8th - 20th. We’re coming home. Preparation began, sign-ups were submitted, and funds had been paid. I was ready to hop on a plane for my final year of camp. A mere week before happiness bega,  I received an email that broke my heart into a million pieces: “Due to the sudden rise in cases we have unfortunately had to cancel Machane this year.” That’s it. It’s over. I will never get to experience camp as a Channicha ever again. Sure, I can go back as a Maddie in the next few years, but without my Madrichim who helped sculpt me into the person I am, it will never be the same. Camp—forever blank. 

So, here’s to 2022 hopefully being a better year full of success. The bar really isn’t set high.  

Lior Kolman is a BBG from BBYO: South Africa and is a founding member of BBYO South Africa!

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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