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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

The Difference a Year Makes

On the first night of Chanukah last year, I was sitting in a hotel bar on a business trip. I didn’t think I cared if I spent part of Chanukah on the road, minor holiday and all that, but as I sat at the bar with tears rolling down my face – I realized that it did matter.

It mattered that I was missing out on spending the first of a holiday with friends. It mattered that I couldn’t stop crying on a business trip. I pulled it together by the time I got to the client meeting, but that was one of my hardest nights being a road warrior.

Less than a month later, I quit my job and started my company and what a year it has been.

For the first night of Chanukah this year, I was with my family. My sister, my mom, my nephews, my brother-in-law… My family. I never expected to celebrate a Jewish holiday with my immediate family. My family has been nothing short of supportive of my conversion, but I respect that they didn’t convert and I try not to push my holidays on them.

This year my nephew has Jewish friends and they compared notes on Chanukah and Christmas. He decided that Christmas was a rip-off and asked my sister for Chanukah. She explained that Chanukah is Aunt Leah’s holiday and if I visited, they would celebrate it. If not, they wouldn’t. I immediately rented a car, sent my sister the ingredient list for latkes and high-tailed it downstate. We did two nights of Chanukah with a menorah, little presents, and a big latke dinner on night two. The Jones-Devivo Chanukah was a total success and my sister has a LOT of latkes left to eat this week.

At the end of year one of Natiiv Arts & Media, I think I can declare it a success. Sure, I’ve got some debt, but my mortgage has been paid on time almost every single month. My clients have done great things with the skills I taught them and my reputation as a go-to trainer is growing in a few different industries.

In 2010, I hope my business keeps growing and that I find a way to actually go on some dates. I won’t hold my breath on that one, though. Being married to my company isn’t all that bad – at least Natiiv likes to travel as much as I do.

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