I reached the mountaintop after an almost ten-year climb

I did it. I still can’t believe it, but I did it.

I landed my dream job. I am now working at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia as a WordPress website developer, email marketing manager, and overall digital marketing geek.

Let me take you back to 2003 for just a minute.

I graduated college and did not have the guts or the connections to really have a shot at making it in the radio business. I gave up before I even had the chance to fight for it, and so I spent the next few years getting temp jobs through my ability to type fast.

In 2007, I started working at the company where I would spend the next nine years. In 2008, I took over managing their website. I taught myself how to code. Then I started their social media program in 2009. Then I started their email marketing program in 2010.

Then from 2011 – 2014, I got an MBA in Marketing, two project management certifications, and an online marketing and website content management certification from the School of Hard Knocks 🙂 Then of course, I took the leap and went to freelance full-time so I could work with WordPress every day.

The list of things that I accomplished is not important. The fact that I kept going for almost a decade is.

I have spent the last week and a half going to work every day getting to do what I love. I love web development with WordPress. I love digital marketing. I love the nonprofit world.

And now I have a job that combines all three.

I finally reached the mountaintop. And it feels incredible.

Almost one year ago, I started this blog to start documenting my journey to complete health more fully than I was on Instagram. Complete health to me means physical, mental, and spiritual health. I believe I have achieved complete health, but it’s not something I suddenly achieve and then am assured of keeping for the rest of my life.

I’ll have to work hard to keep what I’ve gained. I will likely lose various parts of it at various times, and that’s ok. That’s life. I can always regain it as long as that’s possible, barring something catastrophic like terminal illness.

The journey to my current job started almost a decade ago. The journey to complete health started almost two years ago when I lost my marriage, a dear friend, and my father in a 1.5 month span. It was an incredibly difficult time, yet a time that also gave me a second chance at life.

My second chance journey has taken me many places. I have run several races, including a half-marathon, a ten-miler, and many 5k’s. I lost 35 pounds. I became a pretty good boxer. I made many new friends in the web development world, running world, and just the Philly world in general.

I ran with people trying to get out of the homeless shelter and back on their feet. I now lead early Wednesday morning workouts with a group of guys who are residents at an addiction recovery home.

I gave my first talk at a conference about a subject I love. I gave several other talks at various meetups.

These may be pretty impressive, but they’re not even close to the most impressive thing about this whole journey.

I learned to love myself. I learned to trust myself. I learned that following my heart and instincts is never the wrong answer, even when things don’t turn out exactly the way I planned. I learned that confronting my anxiety and understanding it better helped me forgive myself for all of the missed opportunities of my past.

So, what will the next chapter bring? I have no idea, but I know where I want to start.

I have a huge opportunity to affect change at work, doing what I love. So I will pour my heart into that. I will continue my volunteer work. I will continue training for my half-marathon in March and then the Broad Street Run in May.

I will also enjoy myself. I will enjoy the fruits of my labor. I will see my family and friends more. I will have more fun. I will take some time to travel, near and far.

I will enjoy every minute of being on the mountaintop for now. I earned it. I went through hell and back to get it. And I know it could all be taken away from me in an instant at anytime.

So, I will enjoy it and remain grateful.

The icing on the cake for all this is knowing that I am honoring my father and continuing his legacy. I have become so much like him as the years go by. Not something I’m doing intentionally. It’s just me being me.

The qualities that people admire about me are all qualities that he had. Empathy and compassion. Generosity. Support and encouragement. A sharp analytical mind. A quick wit. A way of helping you solve problems on your own by leading you to the solution.

He will always be the greatest man I’ve ever known. He was loved by many for good reason. I hate that he’s not here to see all this, but if he were, I know he would be beaming with pride. I’m incredibly lucky that my mother is still around and in good health so we can share our journeys with each other.

Love you and miss you, Dad. We did it. We reached the mountaintop.

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