You were alright, 2018.

December 29, 2018 |  Category:   life

For some unknown reason, I made an 8am dental appointment which required that I leave the house yesterday morning before anyone else woke up. Not exactly how I wanted to spend one of my vacation mornings, but taking a walk in my neighborhood—still quiet and sleepy—was a nice change, and it made me realize that I just don’t do that anymore. I missed it, especially this time of year when brownstones are dressed up in festive Christmas lights and twisted strands of evergreens.

My routine nowadays involves a subway ride into Manhattan and back again 8 hours later. I was not intending to look for a job this year, but when opportunities come up, as it did this Fall, it makes you reexamine your life at different angles. Ironically, it took getting a full time job and a fixed routine to find better work/life balance and healthier habits. The freelance life, with its unpredictable schedule, lack of stability, and lack of any defined working hours finally took its toll this year. But the real impetus was the constant worry over health insurance—it didn’t seem likely that this country would figure that out anytime soon. Daily commute on the subway aside, I’m happier overall. This, coming from someone who fiercely protected flexibility and freedom above all. Sometimes, priorities that was once thought critical do change.

Some parents will tell you that the teenage years are the years that you’ll want to be at home because this is when your kids will need you most. I tend to agree, and I’m happy to have been there through the middle school years for the most part when so much change and transformation happens. Our business allows some flexibility, so I’m comforted that the kids will have a parent around when they get home from school most days, aside from busy holiday times. So much of this blog over the past 11 years was about the challenge of work and childcare. It feels amazing to be on the other side where that no longer factors into employment and careers. Even a time jump of a few years from my last full time job makes a huge difference when I was still worrying about random school days off and vacations. We’re at a point where we’ll be facing an empty nest in about 5 and half years. 5 years! That’s it! And it’ll flash before our eyes. So then what? I see the value in doubling down on my career, and the first step was getting back to a job. Yes, priorities do change, and stability and growth for the first time wins over flexibility and freedom.

I think by all accounts, 2018 was a good year (I’m not touching on any politics here). We had Europe; I finally redesigned our packaging; the kid successfully got into the high schools she wanted. And as I walked home yesterday from the dentist’s office without leaving any payment for the visit for the first time, my steps into 2019 were a little lighter.

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  • Myla December 29, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    Love this post! Since I have girls your age, lots of my thoughts are similar to yours. Wishing you a great 2019!

    • Jenna January 4, 2019 at 9:01 pm

      thank you Myla. Happy new year to you too!

  • willgoh2 December 29, 2018 at 9:07 pm

    Happy new year!!

    • Jenna January 4, 2019 at 9:01 pm

      Happy new year!

  • Ronnie December 29, 2018 at 10:39 pm

    Loved reading this, Jenna. You inspire me to continue writing and blogging as well.
    Empty next in five years—where has the time gone!?
    Ronnie xo

    • Jenna January 4, 2019 at 9:01 pm

      It just flies. That seems to be the only thing for certain in life.

  • Pawan Sumra Follett December 29, 2018 at 11:10 pm

    Been following you for a while now and have witnessed some of your family’s growth. Wonderful to read this; my very best wishes to you for a happy and healthy 2019!

    • Jenna January 4, 2019 at 9:02 pm

      Thank you, and happy 2019 to you too!

  • Vanessa December 30, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    I do wish we had health benefits. I like to joke that we have chosen good health instead, but it would be great to have a fall back just in case. I hear that paychecks are nice too, congrats.

    • Jenna January 4, 2019 at 9:03 pm

      Good health is good too 🙂

  • Emi (familysweetfamily) December 31, 2018 at 8:32 am

    Happy to read your blog , you are just a bit ahead , my oldest will be 12 in 2019 and I like reading your story. 5 years??? Ohh my…

    • Jenna January 4, 2019 at 9:03 pm

      And it will fly by!

  • Jeanne January 1, 2019 at 2:58 am

    Happy New Year Jenna! Here’s to an even better 2019.

    Our first just went to college and we have 3 more years til the next. You’re smart to expand on your career at this point in time. A lot of my friends aren’t sure what to do these days as the focal point of their lives have shifted. And others are unable to re-enter the workforce, despite having advanced degrees, because they have been out for so long. You’ve got a good gut instinct there.

    • Jenna January 4, 2019 at 9:04 pm

      Yes, I hear that. I’ve seen the same in my circle. I also have college to pay for soon, so there’s that as an additional motivation!

  • Cindy W January 7, 2019 at 1:22 am

    So lovely to hear about your 2018 journey, Jenna. As a younger mom juggling a full time job and a young toddler, I wonder how can I find time to take it all in. Thank you for the reminder and thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Joo February 15, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    Thanks for sharing your updates, Jenna! I’m now dealing w/ the whole self-employment world and its ups and downs – I can relate to your sentiments. Life is full of curve balls, it seems!! Always look forward to your posts 🙂