What I Learned in 2022

It’s hard to fathom, but it’s already December 22. I didn’t really want to start this post off that way because it’s such a cliché. But seriously, this year has dis-a-ppeared. When was Thanksgiving? Yesterday? No, that was almost a month ago. When is 2023? In a few months? Wrong again. It’s in ten days. It's no wonder then that many of us are feeling particularly reflective as we wander about, trying to mix in holiday shopping with all those other things we thought we would get done in 2022 (I finally made it to the dentist yesterday . . . happy holidays!).  

Each year as a business owner is chock full of learnings, most of them attached to some degree (sometimes a quite high degree) of pain. In the spirit of holiday sharing and commiseration, here are a few things (big and small) I’m taking away from 2022. 

Being a lawyer is actually pretty great. People become lawyers for plenty of different reasons. Some had parents who were lawyers. Some had parents who wanted their kids to be lawyers. Some thought being a lawyer would give them job security. I went to law school because my bestie, Kerri Love, was a lawyer. She was (and is) more like me than anyone I know, so I figured if she liked it that I would like it. And I did! I loved law school. There were also things I loved about being a lawyer at a big firm, but they came in a package with oh so many things I hated. It was hard at times to remember that being a lawyer could be a really special thing . It felt more like something we all were just doing for money. But this year in particular has reminded me that the law is, for better or worse, incredibly powerful. And to have an understanding of, and proficiency in, how that power works, and to use that to benefit people doing incredible things in the world, is awesome. I feel lucky. 

The Word Editor is spectacular. In the spirit of keeping it light, Dutch, I thought I’d throw this one in here. We transitioned from the Google suite to the Microsoft 365 suite a few months ago (primarily for security purposes, but there are some other perks). One of the things that came with our new Microsoft Word was a little “helper” who offers unsolicited advice on how to make your writing more “professional.” Things like “in formal writing, try spelling out the words" and “words that express uncertainty limit your impact.” But my favorite is always the "a more precise verb would be clearer and more impactful,” after which it tells you to change “eating outdoors” to “picnicking” or “eating al fresco.” It then gives you a score for the overall documents so you can assess how good of a writer you are (right now this document is scoring a 68%). I am now outing myself as someone who finds this hilarious. 

Women are f***ing spectacular and they need to accept it. I don’t think I need to say more here on the first clause. But as to the second, we as women really suck at owning our awesomeness. That is not an inherent defect in us, but the result of constant messaging about it being somehow unfeminine to be great at something (and to know you’re great at it and, faint, to acknowledge you’re great at it). We don’t want these ladies getting too big for their britches . . . and, on that note, stay really, really, really small. Next time someone tells you how great you are, don’t demur. Ask them to tell you more. Bathe in it.  

Life is 100% uncertain. Once you’ve gone through a major loss, this hits you hard. And, for better or worse (I’d say better), it is sticky. That may be because you feel it more when it happens to other people you love, or when someone has a close call. Nothing is certain. So each day you are alive is a bit magical. It’s this gift you receive that you cannot control and that doesn’t exist only if you’re perfect enough to deserve it. Whenever you’re in that mindset, other petty garbage seems to fade away. 

We can do hard things. Life is hard and running a business is insanity. Fortunately, we can do hard things. 

This is a random list for sure. I thought about trying make it more “formal” or “concise” or “consistent.” But here it is. This is how life has been feeling. Instead of trying to perfect it so I can pretend that I am perfect, I’m going to accept it as it is. 

I hope everyone spends the rest of this year exactly as they wish to spend it. Because, before you know it, it’s going to be 2023. And we have big plans for you, 2023. 

--Jessie Gabriel

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