2019

Hello and Happy 2019!! I can hardly believe it’s been more than six months since my last post, how much has happened since then, or the fact that this year is the year I — and many of my friends — turn 40. In the words of Joey Lawrence … WHOA.

In many ways, I feel like I am exactly where I’m supposed to be right now as 2019 begins. I’ve made some big changes this past year, and am very content overall. But in many ways, I feel like I could do more, be better — especially since this is the year I turn 40!!

So in a nutshell, here was my 2018 in review, and my 2019 goals. If you set goals this time of year, I’d love to hear about yours in the comments below!

HEALTH
In 2018 I committed to my long distance running program and ran two half-marathons (the Detroit International Half in October and the Gazelle Girl Half in April). What I didn’t really commit to was running 1000 miles (I hit 805) or eating better and losing the 20 pounds I have gained … but those are part of my goals for 2019; I know what to do and need to get on it–starting tomorrow!  I’m also going to register for the Riverbank Run, a 25K / 15 mile race, which is May 11. That’s the furthest I have any desire to run. No marathon running over here!

CAREER
In 2018, I decided to make a major career change and, at the end of October, left VML — the company I’d been with for 12 years and love deeply — to take a new, challenging writing role at Stryker, a global med/tech company you may know from having been in one of their hospital beds or seen one of their infamous yellow stretchers on TV. Stryker is an amazing company to work for (ranked #12 by Fortune!); it’s headquartered here in Kalamazoo, and it’s actually why we moved here in the first place, for Luis’s job 12 years ago. He’s still with the company, but like most Stryker employees, he’s moved around and now he’s in finance (so no, we aren’t in the same building!) but, crazily enough, I’m at the division where he and a ton of our friends began their careers. I love my team and the work I’m doing, and love contributing my small part to making healthcare better.

And unlike the advertising world I left, where by its very nature people tend to jump around, a ton of internal mobility potential exists here. It’s very much a part of the company’s DNA, deeply ingrained in the corporate recruitment philosophy and reiterated even on day one at orientation. I love that, as I am looking to make a home here for the next however many years of my career.

SIDE HUSTLE
Though I went through spates of not wanting to write or not having the time to write, I did still publish quite a few pieces at Kveller.com last year (you can read them here if you’re interested). This February marks three years of being a contributor, crazy! I am hoping to expand to other platforms as well in 2019. In terms of how to make that happen, I know I’ll have more time to write if I spend less time glued to the news each night, so that’s one of my big goals this year — to read and write more, and watch news less. 

FAMILY
My family is my world. If you know me IRL or follow me on Insta or Facebook you know that they are my everything. This fall, Ben began Young5s (a program for kids who miss the kindergarten cut-off and have birthdays between Sept 1 and Dec 1) so now we have two kids in elementary school which has been a real game-changer (Luis drops off, I pick up — woot!). But I’d be lying if I said mornings are easy around our house, or that bed-time is a delight — neither would be true. I definitely need to work on my anger management skills, and know we can all do better in 2019. Like, they could listen more, to start. Then maybe I wouldn’t get to a Level 10 for a Level 1 offense?! But in spite of it all, I love them with every fiber of my being — even when they are making me nuts!

GIVING BACK
One of the only things that gave me pause about leaving VML (besides losing two weeks of va-k time each year – the joys of being a newbie!) was the fact that I’d be losing my role as the person responsible for organizing our company-wide day of service and planning community service projects for staff. I knew Stryker did a ton in the community — I’ve participated in plenty of those events as a spouse — but knew I wouldn’t have a leadership role. So when, about two weeks into my new role, I was approached about sitting on the board of an organization I’ve volunteered with for five years, I couldn’t contain my excitement. I will still be able to give back and now, it’ll be from the organizational level where I can have a bigger impact. I have my first meeting this month and then can share more 🙂

I hope to write more here, as well, in 2019. Blogging seems to be a dying art but I do miss it. Given the state of affairs in the world today — and my discontent with our government — I’d be wise-served to take up yoga. We’ll see 😉

Wishing you and yours a blessed, wonderful, healthy and happy 2019.

Love,
Melissa

These jeans …

IMG_2702.jpg

For years, I swore off buying premium denim. It wasn’t about the cost; I truly believe a good pair of jeans is worth every penny and if you wait for the perfect pair to go on sale, it can be an especially sweet treat.

The real reason I swore it off was because I was being stubborn as hell about it: I wanted to be back in my “skinny jeans” — read as, my comfortable size — before splurging. But here’s the thing: I never got there. And I’m not really trying hard to get there now, either. Continue reading “These jeans …”

My First Half!

This weekend was my first half-marathon and you know I have to write about it. If I don’t, I’ll forget these details. And also, I’m super proud of how things went and want to share.

The race itself was kind of fun … dare I say I enjoyed it and may even want to do another?! Nothing further distance-wise;  I don’t have the desire to carve out any more time than I already do or any inclination to run a full. But I actually didn’t hate the half — except the last 3.1 miles which actually were 3.4 miles due to some flooding that caused some last-minute course changes that were not in our favor! Continue reading “My First Half!”

A Heavy Half

Confession: I’m the heaviest I’ve been since I joined Weight Watchers in 2004, not counting when I was pregnant with each kiddo. I lost the baby weight pretty easily with both of them, even got below pre-baby weight with Ben, but I couldn’t sustain the loss (which was still 10-15 above my “goal” but was OK for me). After Rachel died, I stopped working out for far too long and gained probably 8-10, and then since the fall of 2016 (stressssssss), I’ve put on another 8-10 … of which I’ve gained and lost and gained the same 7 now twice. All of which puts me squarely back at my pre-WW weight, a number I never wanted to see again … yet here I am. Continue reading “A Heavy Half”

Quoted in CNN Article: Paid Parental Leave Elusive After 25 Years

Blogging has led to many interesting opportunities. Here’s the latest!

I connected with a reporter doing a story on the lack of paid parental leave and how it impacts mothers when they return to work. She had posted in my Kveller moms group on Facebook, I shared my story and before I knew it we were chatting on the phone. It turns out we have a friend in common — gotta love Jewish geography — and I was more than happy to help bolster her argument that we absolutely NEED paid parental leave in this country. It’s insane to me that we don’t. Today is the 25th anniversary of FMLA and while it preserves a mother’s job for up to 12 weeks … it doesn’t give her pay. And it certainly doesn’t allow her to ease back into working.

Here’s the article, Paid Parental Leave Elusive After 25 Years

(It’s worth noting that I had my babies before we got bought out by my employer, VML — and VML does have paid leave. I wish to God we had had paid leave back then … it was a strain on us in so many ways and especially on me as a mom who felt like I was failing everywhere).

 

Musings on Being an Interfaith Family in December

Oh the weather outside is frightful …
And the fire is so delightful …

Oh I’d give anything to just curl up in jammies with cocoa, a good book, and nowhere to go / nothing to do. Honestly, that’s my holiday dream. But it’s never my reality — and it may not be yours, either. To have that dream would mean saying no to other things we love to do this time of year — and I’m not willing to do that. Instead, I’ll snag whatever down time I can get. Continue reading “Musings on Being an Interfaith Family in December”

Work Gave Me a Sabbatical …

Check out my post over at Kveller.com that talked about my sabbatical. It was culled down quite a bit by editors (as is publishing life!) and doesn’t mention any more the volunteering I did or how it was tied to the sabbatical but I’m still grateful for the time I had and even happier that I can share it with a broader audience!

Work Gave Me a Sabbatical and It Was the Best Thing Ever

Does your company offer a sabbatical? If so, what would you do?