Hi - I'm Jennie. I aspire to be many things, but the truth is I'm not a super healthy eater , lifestyle expert, or a DIY guru - and I definitely haven't mastered the art of mindfulness, yoga, work-life balance, aging parents, or adult children.
From wellness journeys, to DIY, to parenting young adult children with way-too adult problems, Jennie Speaks is my way of taking the tape off, and sharing the good, the challenging, and sometimes the downright hard - as it's defined by me, in the moment.
What do you do when you achieve all you set out to?
Undo it, of course.
I've been running hard and fast for so long, that I don't remember what it's like to live life without blur lines.
I relocated to Georgia from New England in 2011 - in just under 10 days I was packed up and on the road racing towards a job I knew next to nothing about, to a town I had never heard of, into a house I had never seen in person. Adventure, my friends. Why not?
And that's how it was, for awhile. An adventure. I tried new things - places, foods, DIY activities, lighting the burner on the water heater without burning the place down. I wrote a blog, volunteered for a local news outlet, joined yoga classes, made new friends in new ways, stepped outside of my comfort zone, and learned a ton.
I was achieving all my goals, everything I ever thought I wanted. I went from Dispatcher to Director in just under 10 years, hitting every rung on the career ladder I had set out to. The promotions and the teams got bigger, and over last few years it's become a blur, piling on more while simultaneously doing less.
And then it happened - I hit a wall - hard - and I found that I couldn't just go back to the way it was, because it didn't work for me. I needed to find a new way forward.
Sure, I nailed those professional goals, but those friends I had made - I haven't seen them in years. The fun blogs about DIY adventures, parenting, and other fun? By the time I realized there was something wrong and the site was down, it was too late to recover any of it. Yoga classes, retreats, volunteer work - it had been forever since I had done any of that. The kids are now young adults and need totally different things, and some of them even I'm not sure how to navigate, nevermind advise. I wasn't present for my family or myself, and my health and personal relationships suffered.
So here I am, trying to untangle the mess I've made and bridge the gap from where I am to where I want to be. I don't know what that looks like, but I know something has to change.
In the meantime, I'll tell you what I know for sure. My name is Jennie. I've got a beautiful wife that supports whatever I need, 3 adult children that have found brand new ways to challenge me, 4 dogs that keep the house full, and a newfound penchant for starting over - again.
...on ripping the tape off. It only hurts for a minute.
The last 12 months introduced a whole host of new challenges - personal, professional, health, and family - there wasn't a single, relevant part of my life left unscathed. All major life events, converging at the same time - and none of which I knew how to navigate.
At one point, this meant spending time in specialist appointments and hospitals - I found myself regularly surrounded by people that were, by the very definition, dealing with very hard things. I was moved by the how so many of these people, dealing with their own tough realities, appointments, and places to be, would go out of their way to help us find the right floor, defend a partners right to be in the room, share their stories and experiences, or just be really, really kind.
The reality is, most of us are dealing with our own version of hard things, but we often minimize, rationalize, slap the tape over our mouths and just continue on. We try, fail, cope, and celebrate in silence, because our stories can't possibly be as important, relatable, or relevant - right?
We don't need to be famous (or even infamous) to share a story that resonates the others.
We just need to be brave enough to tell it.