This daily #OneGoodThing was dedicated to celebrating extraordinary women I know last December. Many of the 31 bold, beautiful, brave women featured shared stories of perseverance after abuse, addiction, miscarriages, illness, and loss. They represent various fields and backgrounds, and I admire each for their passion and strength. The series was so deeply inspiring that I felt it needed to live on as a weekly feature in 2020. Each Monday, I’ll introduce you to another incredible superhero—including artists, businesswomen, union organizers, nurses, writers, teachers, movie makers, designers, reporters, and all-around badasses. It’s about finding the extraordinary in each of us!
Karen Shulman has been fortunate enough to call many places “home.” She was born in Los Angeles and lived there until she was 17, then moved to Israel, New York, back to Israel, Rwanda, back to New York, New Jersey, and now settled in Cleveland (at least for now!). She lives with her husband David, and her two adorable daughters, Kochava and Leora. Karen has a B.A. in Tolerance Studies, an M.A. in Conflict Resolution and Diplomacy, and an MBA in Sustainable Business. She spends her days as a Sustainability Consultant. She loves traveling, boogie-ing, friends, and family.
1. What did you want to be “when you grew up?” When I was younger I always said I wanted to be a mom and a lawyer that helps people. As a mom of two and a consultant that has to work with billable hours but helps contribute to a more sustainable world — I think my younger self would be pretty darn satisfied with how things turned out.
2. What makes you the most proud of yourself? I am proud that over the years I’ve allowed myself to be ok with not always taking the path that I was “supposed to take,” the path that everyone thought I would take, or the one that others’ have taken before. I forged my own winding path that made me who I am today — and that makes me proud.
3. What darkness have you overcome? How did you find strength? I struggled with infertility for several years and it was the hardest thing I have ever had to go through. The tests, the blood draws, the procedures, the needles (there were many), were hard, but not knowing if I would ever be able to have the family that I dreamed of was the hardest. However, through the struggle, I learned so much. I learned there are many ways to have a family, and that just because you have always planned on something doesn’t mean that it will happen the way you planned it. I also met the most incredible fertility warriors, a sisterhood of women with shared experiences that would be a shoulder to cry on and always lift each other up. I know I am incredibly blessed to have my two daughters, though I carry with me the knowledge that I am changed from the person I was before my fertility journey, and I’m ok with that.
4. Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.? Already being up for a good couple hours, either feeding my 3-month-old or having a tea party with my 21-month-old. Possibly with my second cup of coffee, having enjoyed a breakfast made by my husband or by me and my toddler. Feeling happy.
5. What makes you smile the most? Hands down my toddler, she’s hilarious and my newborn. It’s amazing to watch them both learn new things, most of which us grown-ups take for granted. Having my toddler string together a 3-word coherent sentence and be so proud of herself, or my 3-month-old discovering her toes — they make me smile the most.
Bonus: What advice would you give your younger self? Enjoy every minute of every day that you can and don’t get wrapped up in worrying about what you think other people are thinking. I would absolutely also mention my favorite song lyric, which I think is also awesome advice, “Move like a jellyfish, rhythm don’t mean nothing, you go with the flow, you don’t stop” – Jack Johnson.
Today’s #OneGoodThing is sharing this extraordinary woman and my friend from study-abroad in Israel, Karen Shulman, with all of you! We are stronger together, so let’s shine a light on our extraordinary sisters! If you’d like to participate or nominate a woman to participate, please send me a note or leave a comment! What was your #OneGoodThing today? Please share in the comments! Kindness is Everything.