1. Are you happy at the moment?
Yes I am. I have a lot to look forward to in 2016.
2. If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?
Don’t worry- you’ll become a confident, strong, outgoing woman some day who will no longer be plagued with insecurity and self-doubt.
3. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
I am strong- I can handle the challenges that come my way, so long as I remember to stay solution-focused instead of problem-focused.
4. What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?
Stability for my family. We are moving, expecting a little one, and I’m trying to launch a home-based business, so I just want us to be able to find some stability and balance.
5. What’s your secret to happiness?
My mindset. I know I can choose how I see the world. I choose to concentrate on the good; the positive aspects of my life. Our family has encountered many challenges in the last two years, but we are always focused on making our dreams come true and living life as fully as we can.
6. What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
Personal check-in’s. As a full-time caregiver, I have had to become very self-aware of my emotions, my fatigue, and my needs. I am constantly checking in with myself to make sure I am not burning myself out. If I need to rest, I rest. If I need to eat, I do it. I make time for self-care because I know just how important it is.
7. What’s your biggest regret?
That I spent my teens & young adulthood with so much insecurity and self-doubt. I could have done so much more than I did. I let fear hold me back.
8. What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?
Well, our little one hasn’t arrived yet, but I really hope to teach my child that happiness is a choice. There is ugliness in the world, and there is incredible beauty, and what you choose to focus on will determine your happiness. I hope more than anything that my child will choose to experience wonder, excitement, and truly connect with others.
9. What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?
I would like to improve my cooking skills. I tend to go with whatever is quick and easy, which doesn’t always mean tasty and healthy.
10. Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?
My ability to adapt to change. Since my husband’s accident, I’ve had every aspect of my life changed- my career, where I live, my relationships… but I’ve found that I am very much able to adapt to change, and I am very proud of that.
11. When were you happiest?
Yesterday morning- we got to see our little babe via ultrasound for the first time. Seeing the baby move and hearing the heart beat was pure magic. My husband and I were completely in awe. It was an incredible moment.
12. What ten words best describe you?
Confident, strong, curious, loyal, adventurous, loving, motivated, silly, adaptable, affectionate.
Melissa Jirovec is an entrepreneur and full-time caregiver to her husband, who is a traumatic brain injury survivor. After his accident in 2014, Melissa gave up her career as a registered nurse to care for him at home full-time, and later opened a coaching practice. She is now an ABI Caregiver Coach who works with caregivers of individuals with acquired brain injury, to provide support, reduce stress, and promote self-care.
In her spare time, Melissa loves to read and write, and plans to release her self-written autobiography in the spring of 2016. Her hope is that in sharing her story, she can help other caregivers through their own journey’s as they navigate the path of acquired brain injury. You can follow Melissa on Twitter and ‘like’ her Facebook page too!