Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Eve of A To Z (There's So Much Anticipation, I Feel Like It's New Years Eve)

Today is the last day of March, 2012--one of the most life altering months I've undergone during my thirty years on this planet.

For one, I have experienced a huge shift and growth as an entrepreneur. I passed Hubspot's Inbound Marketing exam (it's official, I am a Certified Inbound Marketer, I do work hard to maintain the Jaclyn of All Trades title), I completed a "Build Your Business Online Bootcamp" (thanks Liz Dennery-Sanders), which, similar to exercise oriented bootcamps will need to be reviewed on a frequent basis. Gotta build up that business stamina to make it to Shark Tank someday.

This past month, I even published a few articles on my blog and other sites as a guest blogger. I connected with through Facebook and within a few days, wrote and published "What It Means To Be A Business Chick". I also signed myself up for a blog challenge I found through Twitter called the A to Z challenge where I will have 26 posts for the month of April, each corresponding with the letters of the alphabet.

Tomorrow, April 1st, is "A day" and I am excited to work my writing muscle. I admit, I'm not sure what I may post about the letter Z (feel free to offer some suggestions) but I'm trying to take it one day and one letter at a time.

My anticipation at the unknown seems to be a common theme for 2012. In addition to all of the professional accomplishments I have outlined here, there have been some personal challenges too. The first week of March, I got a call from my aunt in Florida advising me that my 82 year old grandmother had fallen very ill and was only given a few days to live. Now I must disclose that my relationship with my grandmother was one of the most sacred connections I had in my family. We were more like mother and daughter, best friends, buddies. By Tuesday March 6th, I was on a red eye flight from LAX to PBI (with a brief layover in NY). Grandma had been given four days to live.

I boarded my flight that evening, as I had often done flying, only this time I was in a daze. I drank a glass (or two) of red wine to calm my nerves. Then, at 5:00 in the morning or so, about 40 minutes prior to landing at JFK for my layover, I became increasingly sick to my stomach. Panic took over as I hopped out of my seat and headed to the back of the plane. I managed to tell a stewardess that I felt faint all before I woke up on the floor of the plane! That was the first time I ever fainted on a flight. Talk about perfect comedic material. To recover, I sat in the back of the plane, on the floor, ice pack around my neck, chugging Sprite and eating mini chocolate chip cookies. I kissed the ground when I finally landed in West Palm Beach, FL.

A day later on March 8th, at 9:09 pm, I held my grandmother's hand and watched her take her very last breath. It was a moment that will remain with me for the rest of my life. I felt honored, I felt heartbroken, I felt a new sense of urgency around our time here on earth. Death even took on a new perspective in my mind. It seemed a lot less scary and my fear of dying, along with all the stresses of being self employed, the frustration of being single, the self doubt at my ability to be the success I aspire to be, died too.

As I write this post now, on the eve of April 1st, my grandfather is in his final stages of life. After 66 years of marriage to my grandmother, he cannot go on without her. It has pained me this past three weeks to see him heartbroken yet it has been a privilege for me to wake up with him in the middle of the night, to tuck him in to bed, to watch Dancing With The Stars with him.

And so I dedicate this A to Z challenge to my grandparents, Adriane and Katch. The very two people who taught me as immigrants, entrepreneurs, lovers, role models and grandparents that we should face our challenges daily and rise to the occasion. Right now, the last thing I want to do is push myself, to go on without them, to break out of the awkward shell I've been in this past three weeks watching my loved ones leave this life. But this blog challenge is a great metaphor! I realize that our life stages are like the alphabet. You can't jump from A to D, let alone from A to Z. It just doesn't work that way. There is beauty in the sequence, in the order, in the progression from one letter on to the next.

No two letters are alike, no two lives are alike. And I know that no two blog posts in this challenge will be alike. I may blog about business, I may blog about disappointments in love, I may blog about my personal and professional aspirations. Who knows what will come as I connect my brain -----> to my heart-----> to this keyboard to the alphabet.

So, sit back and relax this April as I take you with me from A to Z. And if you feel so inclined or inspired, take the plunge and go on a 26 day journey from A to Z on your own.

How did your March shape up? I want to know. Post a comment in the section below. If you want to challenge yourself, start your comment with the letter A.


  1. Jaclyn,
    I am so sorry for your loss and what you're going through. My husband's grandfather passed away this week, and his grandmother is on her own. They were married for 75 years.
    Your post is very insightful and inspiring. I think you have a great outlook toward the here and now.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'll be sure to catch up with you throughout the Challenge.
    (Be sure to disable your word verification if you want more comments).

    1. Thank you for commenting Susan. Sorry to hear about your husband's grandfather! I really respect couples that have been together so long. As I've observed with my grandparents, true love never dies (not to be cliche). Anyhow, I thought I disabled word verification, I will go back and check now. Have a lovely evening. All the best, Jaclyn M. Mullen