Embrace the beauty in living life unfiltered.

Thank you for reading my stories, laughing along, and being brave enough to share yours! 

jen

jen

When did you last belly laugh? 

I was helping my sister pack for their family vacation (and by helping I mean I was laying on her bed occasionally offering a "yes" or a "no") as she laid out clothing options. My nephew came upstairs to ask my sister a question. I trapped him into spending time together by showing him old baby pictures of himself saved on my phone.

One particular infant photo of him sitting in a baby chair set precariously on the kitchen counter had us laughing out loud. The picture captured my round, well fed nephew holding and trying to get his mouth around an empty milk container that sat nearby. This prompted us into making up pretend voices and calling out comments he might have been saying had he been able to speak. 

 "Ma, we're out of milk! Ma, I'm starving over here!"

This had my nephew, sister, and I rolling. Hearing us roar, my niece came upstairs to investigate. 

Joining the fun, she laid down on the bed with my nephew and I. My sister followed suit, abandoning the packing. The four of us snuggled like sardines on her bed, in stitches over our made up commentary. Recalling old memories we certainly created a wonderful new one. 

Where do doubt and shame show up in your life and how do you tackle those feelings?

Having been in a very specific field the last decade my skillset is very niche. When I think about my professional future and the possibilities of different paths I doubt my ability to branch out. Daring to try new things career wise is definitely where doubt rears its ugly head the most.

I feel shame heaviest when I don't react or show up the best way in my most important relationships. If I'm too quick to react, say something I later regret, or respond in a less than optimal way I can then berate myself into shame. Shame spirals and I wonder why I can't "be better" like everyone else. It goes on from there. With the kindness of the people in my life and reminders to myself as I get older, I get better at shaming myself less even if it still pops up from time to time

If there were one small act that could be contagious, what would you like it to be?

I'm notoriously indecisive so here's a few.

I wish people smiled at each other as they passed at work, on the sidewalk, etc. I know this is a normal interaction in parts of the world. Unfortunately, it is not where I live, but I wish it were a universal human norm to take the moment to acknowledge another person's existence and offer a smile.

I sometimes run errands and leave my phone at home. I try to limit using my phone when walking outside. Though when short on time, or when productivity demands, accomplishing something over my phone walking to and fro places has helped. But that thought reminds me that I wish everyone felt less demand to respond with speed or consume copious amounts of content. Instead of walking around with elbows bent at 90 degrees and heads down, perhaps we could look up and smile at each other more.

Lastly, and this is a big one, I sneeze into my elbow instead of my hands. I don't mean to brag but I discovered this at a relatively young age. I'm amazed that I still see people sneeze into their hands- even health care workers! Unless I see immediate hand washing following some hand sneezing all I can think about are the germs that cover every space I touch. Sneeze into your elbow people. 

Biggest technology peeve?

That our addiction and need to consume is only getting worse. Much much worse. 

High & Low from this year?

Low would be discovering my brother's struggle with addiction and the high would certainly be the joy and closeness his recovery and dedication to staying sober has brought to my family.

What scares you? Personally and on a global level.

Losing my Mother, Sister, Brother, Brother-In-Law, Niece, Nephew, or other closed loved ones too soon. I see family members and loved ones handle this all the time from my work in oncology and I often wonder and worry that I'd not be able to carry on quite the same if I was in their shoes.

The POTUS

What reminds you there is no reason to be afraid?

I'm not sure I become less fearful but the answers above remind me to settle into moments with more intention and appreciation with the loving company I keep. 

With whom, doing what, when, or where do you feel most at home?

With my immediate family laughing, eating, and drinking at my sister and brother-in-law's house. Relaxed somewhere with my core group of friends who might as well be family. I've grown to love walking, wandering without a destination in mind, taking in the pretty, sometimes unusual sights along the way. Anyone willing to enjoy an activity so simple with me brings me that "home" feeling. 

Picture your most joyous day. Name three elements that help comprise that perfect day. Name them all if you'd like. 

Lingering over meals cooked by others. Family and friends. A matinee. Wandering with no place to go and everywhere as an option. Pristine fall-like weather preferred. 

Hardest life lesson learned?

People, even those closest to you, will not always show up the way you may expect. 

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

When making any significant life change make sure you're running toward something and not away from something else. 

Worst advice?

Follow your passion. I assume this may be helpful to those that know exactly what their passions are, but if that's not initially clear, the advice can only make things feel worse.

Unsolicited advice from know-it-all types is usually pretty brutal, too.

Top 3 pieces of advice for those seeking to live a good and full life?

Be kind. To everyone. As often as you can. 

Hakuna Matata. It'll all work out, trust the process, and try to have as little worries, for most of your days, as much as you can. 

Cultivating an attitude of gratitude can make you feel rich. So can being judicious about your finances. 

michelle

michelle

lizzie

lizzie