Monday, August 31, 2015

Elul: Accepting That I'm Where I'm Supposed to Be

Asher conquers a Colorado peach at the Farmers Market
while mommy is busy working in California. 
[Thanks to Tatty for the picture, of course.] 

Lately, and maybe because it's the Hebrew month of Elul and the High Holidays of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur are right around the corner, I've been thinking about where I am in life. In a few short weeks, the books of life and death will be written and sealed, so it's a heavy time.

After spending three days out in California with my (amazingly awesome, there are no words for them) coworkers in Mountain View, walking past the offices of Apple and LinkedIn and being a few doors down from Google ... man, I was fan girling in a serious way. I'm finally in the industry of my dreams. I mean, I've been working in social media for the better part of my adult life and consider myself an expert in many things (content, audience cultivation, Facebook ads, social campaigns, social virality). But for the first time in my life, I'm able to travel to the hub of the startup world, launch a brand digitally from scratch, and watch it grow, soar, succeed.

This is the career changer, the life changer. And being in California with my head down and hanging out with my coworkers as they troubleshoot and I troubleshoot and we all make amazing things happen, I was in the thick of it and it felt right.

On the other hand, my husband and son were back in Colorado, so I was able to wake up at 7 a.m., start working right away and pull a full day, not finishing up until 5:30 or 6 p.m. and feel completely and utterly accomplished. It was amazing. I could do it every day of my life and feel fulfilled. I think.

Once upon a time, I envisioned my life differently. I was going to live in NYC and work at The New York Times, and when I graduated college and ended up at The Washington Post, I was well on my way to realizing that dream -- maybe. But I was depressed and unhappy. The hours were terrible, my neshama wasn't at peace, there were many things missing. So the course of my life changed forever when I left Washington DC in early 2007. Since then, every year has been a patchwork.

Five years ago, I was playing the happy housewife. Newly married, newly moved to Teaneck, I was attempting to keep up with the Schwartzes, buying new dishes and servers and attempting to fit into the Shabbat hosting world. Things weren't good, but they were manageable.

Four years ago, I was on the verge of divorcing my first husband. I was severely depressed, medicated, and desperate for a change. On the outside, I put on the ultimate show. On the inside, I was dying.

Three years ago, I was on the verge of making aliyah (moving to Israel), where I anticipated big life changes, finding a new mate, having children finally, fulfilling the dream of Eretz Yisrael.

Two years ago, I was a newlywed and several months pregnant. I was baffled at how I'd gotten to where I was, but elated at the challenge, despite being broke, mostly jobless, and unsure of what was in store for me and my new family.

One year ago, life was unhappy again. The adjustment back to the U.S. had been incredibly hard on everyone and things weren't going well. Asher was a happy, bouncy baby, but there was a lot going on and, little did I know, I was about to lose my job and my husband -- all on my birthday.

And today? Well, today my husband is back. He's working full time at two different jobs (construction/house flipping + the kosher pizza place while the owner receives treatment for cancer), so we see him on Shabbat and for a few hours in the middle of the day. I'm working, making sure the house runs smoothly, the laundry gets done, food gets on the table, and making sure Asher gets to daycare so all of those things can happen smoothly.

It's not perfect, but it's where we are, and despite the freedom I have when I'm knee-deep in the startup world in Mountain View, it's nice to come home to toys all over the floor and a tiny person who says, "Mommy, Mommy!"

I recently asked my Facebook friends if they were where they thought they'd be in life, and without an official count, I'd say 95% of the respondents said "no." I wasn't surprised.

Am I where I thought I'd be? Definitely not. Is it where I want to be? I'm still figuring that one out. But the truth is, for all of us, we're exactly where we're supposed to be. Ultimately, it's all about acceptance, and if we can accept and appreciate where we are, then it will always be where we want to be.