I have to thank Jamie Geller for inspiring me to write this post. As she inspires so much of what I do it’s no surprise she’s inspired me to reflect on the past ten years and how the twists and turns of life have brought me to where I am today. Ok…here we go!
I had fallen in love and was ready to get married…but this kind, funny and full of life guy had just started law school and wanted us to have fun first. So have fun we did! We lived in Downtown D.C. when it was in its last moments of being a wild and a bit dangerous city without any great restaurants but A LOT of great bars.
I was past my first year of officially being out of college and in a career working for the National Geographic Channel, but a lot was changing as it became NatGeo. There were mergers, there were acquisitions…and I realized that starting my career during the biggest recession of our generation meant a lot of disillusionment with the establishment. I learned how to network, how to adapt and how to be useful to whoever was in charge.
We got a dog! And everything changed. Rocky (real name Rocket, named after Rocket Bar where me and Andrew met) came into our lives and I was IN LOVE. Growing up my family had had a spaniel and Andrew’s family had one too – it was besheret. We went on long long walks together every day while Andrew studied for the bar and me and Andrew learned to prioritize someone else’s needs above our own.
I helped launch NatGeo’s NYC office and my eyes were opened to the bigger world of film and television. For the first time I had real responsibilities (and a Blackberry!) and worked 24/7. I also left work every single day at lunch to walk my dog…but I answered emails as we went. I thought a lot about what was next for my career, should I move back to LA?
We got engaged! I didn’t sleep that night, I didn’t think I would ever sleep again…I WAS SO EXCITED. I learned a lot that year…I learned I should have been a wedding planner because I dived into every detail with so much enthusiasm that I cried after the wedding because I missed planning it so much and I didn’t think there would be another time where everyone I loved would all be together again. It was a year of celebrating (engagement parties, showers, etc. etc.) but it also was a year of marrying two different families together and figuring out what ours would look like.
I got hired by Discovery Channel and left my NatGeo family to advance into the next level of my career. Discovery gave me enormous opportunities and empowered me to believe I could be an executive in the industry. I also got into and started business school at Georgetown (HOYA, SAXA!) and pursued my MBA while working full time and planning a wedding. Every minute of my day was a rush, I lived on adrenaline.
I got married! It was a dream in every way. Except when our wedding planner called us the night before to tell us we didn’t have a cake. Me and Andrew laughed and told her to just find something sweet for our guests to eat and it didn’t matter to us what it was. We didn’t even check in with her and of course she ended up getting a super fancy LA bakery we could never afford to make our cake in less than 24 hours. Thank you Charlie! We headed off to South Africa for our honeymoon and that trip was the most special as I had spent most of my childhood summers there with my grandma and cousins who all lived there so to go back as an adult with Andrew and go on safari was a blessing in every way.
Turns out a career in television is a career of total unpredictability. Things were unbelievably exciting but also terrifying. We had film crews all over the world and many were filming very real and very dangerous events in the wild. I flew to oversee a crew in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE Alaska on a glacier. I’m proud of the projects I developed that year and I also started researching…YouTube stars for TV. I spent a lot of time watching YouTube…
I called this ‘the year of the wait’. We knew we wanted to wait one year of being married before having kids so I decided this would be a ‘filler’ year and surprisingly nothing too surprising happened. I worked and studied a lot and went to Hong Kong with Georgetown. Andrew and I added Thailand and Cambodia to the trip and took a lot of dorky photos.
I began to travel A LOT for work. I worked for Discovery’s International channels and my boss and most of my team were based in London. I learned how to create a little travel lifestyle, I made a home away from home in the town of Chiswhick where the offices were. I went to the same restaurants every single time when I ate alone and I liked that the waiters knew me. (This photo sums it up…tired, haven’t taken off my old makeup, taking selfies with the dog at 5am because #jetlag).
There’s too much to say for this year…we got pregnant. At 5 months in we said goodbye to the baby boy we didn’t get to meet. Life profoundly changed for me forever. I knew the entire time it wouldn’t work out, I just didn’t know how or when. After the pregnancy ended I hated that everything felt out of control and the world felt toxic. I wouldn’t wear makeup, touch anything that wasn’t organic (including store receipts and our couch because it had flame retardant chemicals in it). I told myself that I would get a second dog when it didn’t work out, but when things didn’t work out I didn’t feel like I was ready to get one and to be happy again. I also reconnected with Judaism this year as many rabbis and words of Jewish wisdom helped me to heal.
More work, more travel. It was a blur but through it all I graduated with my MBA and was very proud. In this photo I’m four months pregnant and still too ‘morning’ sick to barely stand, also it was hot.
MAX. The year of Max! And Reed, we finally got that second dog and that baby. Max was born and I could finally be a mom. I got to hold the whole world in my hands.
I got laid off…at 8 months pregnant. It was…a shock. Discovery Channel was in the midst of major changes and moving all DC business to NY. I knew things were ending but I loved my career and didn’t want to think about networking and interviewing I just wanted to enjoy the newborn baby days I had waited so long for. I was treated exceptionally generously and am actually incredibly thankful for everything, but I was sad it had to happen at that point in my life. 2015 had been a year of so much instability and mentally I wasn’t sure I was strong enough for such a big sudden change. Turns out, I was.
I loved being a mom and everything with Max felt easy and wonderful…but my body was a wreck. I had fractured my spine in labor, I got mono, I had undiagnosed postpartum hypothyroidism and I was in a lot of pain. Some of this was my fault, I didn’t want to leave Max to do things like see my own doctors…but a lot of it was caused by a traumatic birth experience and a hospital of nurses and doctors that ignored my pleas for help. I was inspired to write a book and to empower women through the pregnancy, labor and birth process.
I was confused…I didn’t want to leave Max and I had never planned to start my career all over again at this point. I had been in my dream job at my dream company that no longer existed. Truthfully to work in TV I needed to move to LA or NY and commit to life on the fly, but I didn’t know if I even wanted that anymore. I decided I needed to transfer my skillset from traditional media to social media. Then I could work for any company anywhere. I also started…my YouTube channel. I realized that no career was ever safe and if I was working for myself then at least I was in charge. I said if it wasn’t successful in 6 months I would give it up… I didn’t give it up, but when Max turned one I started full-time at NOAA as their social media manager and that’s when the #pumplife chose me.
I got pregnant with ANOTHER little boy and this time I was determined to deliver naturally. I spent the year training for a positive hypnobirth experience and enjoying every second I had with Max outside of work and morning sickness. I felt enormous guilt at not being the super-mom I wanted to be. Most of our time together was spent on the couch with me half asleep trying not to throw up, but somehow we got through it.
I wrote a book (Expecting Jewish!) and got a publisher signed on to publish it. I grew my YouTube channel from 0 subscribers to a few thousand, enough to get monetized. I created a strategy for NOAA’s Twitter account that grew it from 850K to 1.5 Million followers. And then…I quit. I wanted to be home with Max and I wanted to pursue running my own account…MyJewishMommyLife.
I was given the blessing of a beautiful, healthy, happy baby boy and we named him Corey. He is just JOY, just pure joy. I delivered him just as I had prayed and trained for and it healed my experiences from the past. I felt strong again and empowered to do anything. 2019 has been my happiest year of my life, my arms and heart are overflowing.
I made YouTube a real thing for me. I committed to two videos a week and grew my channel to almost 15K subscribers. I got to work with actual brands and make real money from my channel. I began to talk about my dreams for this thing out loud and to believe in it more and more myself.
I can’t wait to see what the next decade will hold. I hope I’ll be back here writing a recap again in 2030. In the meantime, thank you for being with me along the way.