Jen has been in my life now for thirteen years and I’ve enjoyed every single moment of our friendship. When we get together there is always laughter and honest conversations. We just get each other and I am so grateful to have her as a friend. Over the last two years I’ve been lucky enough to watch Jen transform her life and it has been truly inspiring. She decided to leave her life in LA and her career in casting and set off on an adventure to volunteer with All Hands rebuilding schools in Haiti after the devastating earthquake in 2010. How seriously brave and amazing, right? Enjoy her insightful answers…
What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?
Do something outside of your comfort zone as much as possible….that was always very hard for me. I remember landing in Haiti at 29 and looking out the plane window thinking “what the hell did you just get yourself into” but after 2 weeks doing work unlike anything I had ever done I decided that there was no way I would be able to go back to my life before.
What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?
Sleep. I’ve never been a good sleeper but I wish I did more of that when I had the time.
What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?
Stressing about non-important things.
Favorite memory from your 20’s?
I have so many amazing memories from my 20’s that picking one is extremely hard, but if I had to it would have been the moment that I fell in love with disaster relief work and Haiti. I was coming home from a full day of pouring a foundation for a school we were building. I was covered head to toe in cement, I had burns up and down both arms from catching buckets of wet cement being thrown at me all day long and I was exhausted. We spent the 35 minute drive home laughing hysterically through the most beautiful country side talking about how excited we were to be doing all over again tomorrow. I remember looking out into a field of banana trees thinking “yes, you’re home”.
In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?
I’ve never been a big planner of the future so I didn’t really have a clear picture of where I would be by 30, but if I had to guess I would have been living in LA and, still working in casting or some other part of the movie industry.
And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?
I was just approaching my 6th month mark in Haiti. I was living in a tent surrounded by devastation and destruction with some of the most amazing people on this planet. I had no idea what was next or where I was going to go from there.
Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?
Uhhhh Yes, living a life of disaster relief for almost 2 years now is always a little crazy and all over the place but I know in the end it will all work out on way or another.
What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?
I’m like being confident in who I am as a person. Of course I still have days and moments where I’m completely lost and feel very alone but when it all comes down to it I know who I am, what I like, what I want and what I need at this moment in life.
When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?
Part of doing disaster relief is that I really have no idea what is next. I still have some major decisions to make in regards to what’s next for me but when it all comes down to it the main thing is that I want to be happy, healthy and enjoying life to the fullest always, no matter how old I am.
What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?
“Not all those who wander are lost” – JRR Tolkin